Shelby Harris said his fingers will likely hurt Tuesday, with the digits being the only objects between a Denver Broncos win and overtime.
It’s a pain the defensive end’s likely OK with.
Harris, splitting the offensive line on the second field goal attempt by Los Angeles Chargers kicker Younghoe Koo — the first was foiled by a last-second timeout call by Broncos head coach Vance Joseph — glanced the football enough to ensure the attempt to tie fell short.
For the second season in a row, Denver wins on a last-second missed field goal.
“Man, it’s just a big moment. I’m just happy to help the team. I’m really just happy to help the team in any way I can — special teams, defense — anything I can do,” Harris said after the game.
Anything he can do to help — or make — the team is exactly what Harris has shown through the offseason, OTAs, training camp, and now Game 1 of the regular season.
One of the better storylines to come out of the Broncos offseason, Harris went from futures contract signee in January to making the 53-man roster to starting on Monday to making the game-saving play.
Head coach Vance Joseph lauded the young defensive lineman in his postgame press conference, not only for his play to help clinch a 24-21 win over the Charger on Monday Night Football but his way of carving out a roster spot.
“Shelby has earned his way from the first day of OTAs to training camp. Through the preseason games, he’s earned his way,” Joseph said. “It’s the perfect example of a guy coming into camp and having an outside chance of making the football team, but he really earned his way.”
After two seasons with the Oakland Raiders, wherein he played just eight games, Harris spent the 2016 season on the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys practice squads.
But Harris made the best of his opportunity, with defensive end Billy Winn going down with a season-ending injury in training camp.
“He came in the tip pass, the blocked kick to win the game. That’s just what you want. Those are the stories you want to hear about, a guy like Shelby coming in here and fighting his way on the team,” Broncos pass rusher Von Miller said after the game.
“Fighting his way until the starting role and fighting his way into a big-time role player on this team. Hats off to Shelby. He’s done a great job since the very first day he stepped in (the facility).”
Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @JohnnyHart7.