Dwayne Harris caught just 33 passes during his four seasons with the Cowboys where his primary role was on special teams. The Giants are planning on taking advantage of those skills as well, but Harris feels like he can offer more than just a spark in the return game.
"I am definitely a receiver," Harris said on Wednesday after officially signing a five-year contract with the Giants as a free agent. "Dallas didn't really utilize me that much as a receiver, but hopefully when I come to New York it will be different."
For that to happen, though, it will probably mean bad news for someone else. The Giants already have three primary receivers in place in Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle. That doesn't leave much room for a fourth. Unless, of course, one of them is somehow unavailable. Cruz is coming off a torn patellar tendon and while he is progressing well the Giants are wary of counting on him to return to top form in 2015. Beckham's rookie season was spectacular, but he also missed several months with hamstring issues that he admitted after the season were never fully resolved.
"Harris is a well-kept secret to a lot of people, except the teams in NFC East," Giants general manager Jerry Reese said. "He is one of the top all-around special teams players in league and a solid third or fourth receiving option."
Harris was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in the 2013 season opener vs. the Giants, when he returned two punts for 19 yards and led the team with three solo special teams tackles.
Harris may be yearning to catch passes, but he isn't averse to catching kickoffs and punts.
"I enjoy it," he said. "It is definitely an adrenaline rush on punt return with guys running down trying to take your head off. I love it. It is a fun aspect of the game that I enjoy the most, outside of blocking and tackling. It is definitely one of those aspects of the game that I enjoy."
Blocking and tackling?
"Growing up, I was a quarterback, then when I got to college I changed to receiver and when I got to the league, special teams became a big part of me being able to get on the field and be able to play," he said. "I was always a good blocker, so I know just having all those skill sets helped me out to be a better football player. It's great. I'm glad I have these skill sets to help the team win."
Especially when the team faces his old team.
"They are going to give me a chance to play my old team, the Dallas Cowboys, twice a year," he said when asked why he chose to sign with the Giants. "It's going to be fun [going back to AT&T Stadium]. It's going to be a little strange playing against the guys I played with my whole career, but that will be a fun game to play."