Harrison Catches Three Passes for 22 Yards in '08 Preseason Debut
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The waiting and watching ended Saturday night.
Marvin Harrison, the Colts' eight-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, not only played in the Colts' second preseason game of the season on Saturday against the Carolina Panthers, he started and played three series.
Harrison, entering his 13th NFL season, caught three passes for 22 yards before leaving the game with several other Colts starters after the third series.
The verdict from Colts teammates and coaches?
A good start for Harrison.
And to Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy, that was no surprise.
"I think Marvin did fine," Dungy said. "I really wasn't thinking he was going to play. He wanted to go tonight and he had had a good week of practice. He went in and caught the ball well. He took a couple of hits and he did what he wanted to do, and that was good to see."
Harrison, who missed 11 regular-season games last season with a knee injury, did not participate in mini-camp this past offseason, but has been practicing on a one-a-day basis during training camp. He missed the team's preseason opener, but participated in two practices Thursday, with Dungy saying Friday morning he would play Saturday.
After not catching a pass on either of the Colts' first two possessions – neither of which resulted in a first down – Harrison was critical on the first-team offense's longest drive of the night.
Starting from the Colts 20, Colts quarterback Jim Sorgi got Harrison involved early on the drive, hitting him with an eight-yard out on the drive's first play. Sorgi followed that with a 4-yard pass to Harrison, giving Indianapolis its first first down of the game.
"It was nice," Sorgi said. "He caught a couple of balls. He looked like he was in a groove. He looked like he could do pretty much whatever he wanted on whoever was out there covering him. It was good to see. Hopefully, we can get some more playing time next week, go at guys and do more things."
Three plays later, with the Colts facing 3rd-and-6 from their 36, Sorgi scrambled to his right, finding Harrison on the sideline for a 10-yard gain and a first down.
Seven plays later, kicker Adam Vinatieri's 42-yard field goal made it 14-3, Panthers.
"It really is pretty much for him being on a normal schedule," Dungy said of Harrison. "This is like the No. 1 preseason game. He got his 15 plays and did what he was supposed to do. I think he was happy and we all came out of it feeling good."
Said Colts tight end Dallas Clark, "It's big. It's just fun to see him out there. It's fun to play with him. It's just good to see him get his confidence back and get the flow back for him. I think this was a big game for him.
"I think he found it very helpful to start getting that rust chipped off and get back out there. It's been a while for him."