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Two-Minute Drill: Rookie wide receiver Chris Harper taking cues from quarterback Russell Wilson
Wide receiver Chris Harper shares quite a few things in common with quarterback Russell Wilson.
To start, they both attended Collegiate High School - Harper's in Wichita, Kansas and Wilson's in Richmond, Virginia.
Both come from diverse athletic backgrounds. Harper starred at running back in high school, played quarterback at Oregon and made the switch to wideout at Kansas State. Before committing to football, Wilson was drafted to play baseball by the Colorado Rockies, an endeavor that included a brief stint at second base with Eastern Washington's Tri-City Dust Devils.
And they both like to start their workdays early, a trait Harper found out about Wilson very quickly.
"I remember one time when I came up here at like 6 a.m. and I saw a car outside," the 6-foot-1, 234-pound Harper said following Thursday's training camp practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. "I didn't know whose car it was. I got in the facility and I thought I was the first person in there, but [Wilson] was leaving. He was literally leaving at 6 a.m. I honestly don't know what he was doing there, I doubt he was just leaving from the night before, but he was leaving right when I got there."
Perhaps there really is "No Time 2 Sleep" for the Seahawks' second-year signal caller. Or perhaps Wilson was just stepping out to grab a bite to eat before burying himself in more game film. Wherever Wilson was going that morning, it's clear that his work ethic is relentless - a characteristic Harper says is contagious for some of the other first-year guys.
"Every time I get here, his car is here. Every time I leave, his car is still here - and I'm usually one of the last ones out of here after meetings. There's a reason why he did as well as he did last year.
"I'm in a similar situation this year, was drafted in a similar position and it definitely gives you kind of a blueprint of what can happen if you put the time in and work at it."
Harper, the 26th pick in the fourth round of this year's draft, has shown promise through the first seven days of Seahawks training camp. He provides the biggest body in the club's receiving corps by a good margin - 14 pounds - and his strong hands and athleticism were on display during Wednesday's practice when he and Wilson connected for a deep gain, with Harper beating the team's No. 1 'D' on a double-move up the left sideline.
"I just know he's on all the details," Harper said of Wilson. "He knows every detail of every play, so he's never going to tell you something wrong. He's just a student of the game, so anything you can get from him is going to help you on the field."
Harper makes up a strong list of pass catchers working in on offense behind Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin, and with Percy Harvin having completed successful surgery today, Harper could be called into action sooner than anticipated.
Below is a little bit more from my Thursday conversation with Harper, including whether or not he got around to purchasing a Fushigi Magic Gravity Ball with his first NFL paycheck...
What has your first NFL training camp been like?
"It's cool. It's way different than college. The days were way shorter when we were in college as far as meetings and the amount of time you're there. We're here for awhile, the practice tempo is way different, the intensity is way different. Here, we've got the best corners in the League - that's probably the biggest difference, playing against guys like that every day."
What's it like going up against the Legion of Boom on a day-to-day basis in practice?
"It's different because I never really got pressed in college. Now, you've got guys that are 6-foot-4, 6-foot-3 pressing you. That changes your whole thinking not just about the route and the coverage, but about how you're going to get off the line, how they're going to play me this time. It definitely helps going against those guys, because I know I'm going to get jammed in games."
How comfortable do you feel on the field against that coverage?
"It's something I'm getting used to, but they change it up, too. It's not like they're going to keep doing the same thing because they're real smart dudes that have been in the League for a while now. When I switch something, they're going to switch something, so it's just constantly playing like a back and forth chess game. It helps, though. It definitely helps."
How comfortable do you feel in the offense?
"I feel comfortable with the schemes and the offense as a whole, it's just a matter of getting out there and getting a feel for the game because the game is a little bit quicker with guys being smarter on defense. That kind of slows me down sometimes because you use some of the same names that we used in college, so they'll say something and I'll think of something else. So it's just breaking old habits and learning terminology."
Have you ever had this many fans show up for a practice?
"Nah, man. We had open practices when I was at Oregon, but when I was at K-State we didn't have anybody at practice. It's cool, though. You get some eyes on you and it brings a little bit more pep to practice. It's cool."
Have you picked up that Fushigi Magic Gravity Ball you wanted to get with your first paycheck?
"I still haven't got one. I've seen them on eBay and still watch the infomercials, but just never bought it. I got some new shoes...but I haven't bought anything too crazy yet."