Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Saints returner and wide receiver Deonte Harris is donating thousands of meals to New Orleans — and Baltimore.
Harris’ donation will cover more than 10,000 meals for two food banks: the Second Harvest Food Bank and the Maryland Food Bank.
Harris, a native of Middle River, Md., has only been in the NFL for a year, so he does not have as much money as NFL superstars; Harris was signed by the Saints as an undrafted free agent and made the team after impressing coaches during the preseason. But the Archbishop Curley graduate says giving back to the less fortunate has always been a plan for him.
“I was always taught to give back to the less fortunate,” Harris said on Glenn Clark Radio April 7. “Fortunately, I was never in a situation where I needed someone to do this for me. So, I always said when I grow up I would be that type of person to always give back.”
“I talked to my loved ones, talked to mom, my team and had a conversation with God and felt this was an opportunity for me to give back. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to be financially stable through this crisis, so for me to be able to give back is what I did,” Harris added.
With nonessential business being shut down and workers being laid off, families are struggling to put food on the table. Also, with the number of COVID-19 cases on the rise across the country, a timetable for normalcy is unclear.
Harris is trying to prepare for the 2020 season after a big rookie campaign. Signed out of Division II Assumption College, the 5-foot-6, 170-pound Harris enjoyed a Pro Bowl season as the Saints’ punt returner and earned first-team All-Pro honors.
“It’s stressful especially with everything being closed, and I can’t work out how I want to work out,” Harris said of how the closing of businesses has affected him. “But you also got to think about [how] it’s not just me going through it, it’s everybody. So, it’s not just like I’m dealing with this by myself. … This is something that everyone has to deal with. And everyone has to overcome this adversity.”
If Harris had one message to give to everyone, he would like everyone to stay positive through this adversity.
“Like I said earlier, you’re not the only person going through this. We’re talking about the whole world. So be positive,” Harris said. “Try to surround yourself with a lot of your loved ones. … Just stay positive and just take it one day at a time and continue to rely on God.”
Harris also touched on other topics, including …
On how it is playing with quarterback Drew Brees:
“He’s kind of just one of the guys. I mean, [as a rookie or] just a younger guy you look at him different because this is a guy that accomplished so many things and does so many great things. So, just to be around him is crazy. … You kind of got used to it and look at him as one of the guys, but at the same time you still remember that he is one of the greatest to ever play.”
On former teammate Teddy Bridgewater signing with Carolina Panthers:
“He’s just a great guy overall. We don’t even talk about on the field. We’ve all seen what he could do on the field when Drew got hurt, unfortunately, but [Bridgewater] came in and won five games. Off the field he’s a great guy, a great leader and brings a lot of energy. They’re getting a great guy all around.”
On if NFL teams will use more players out of position like teammate Taysom Hill:
“A lot of these guys are just pure athletes. So, to limit them to just one position or just one role is kind of disrespectful in a way. These guys are the best, the fastest, strongest people on the planet, so for you to just limit them to one position would kind of be crazy. So, I think as time goes on more people will start to get that role and it’s going to be more than just the tight end or receiver.”
For more from Harris, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Michael C. Hebert/New Orleans Saints