Buffalo Bills running back Damien Harris made his first appearance with his new teammates this week — and irked some fans of his old team with a cryptic Instagram message.
Harris came to the Bills in free agency, giving the team the power back they had been lacking for the past few seasons. He joins a team with a void at running back as incumbent starter Devin Singletary left in free agency and second-year back James Cook is moving into an uncertain role.
While he has an eye on the future, Harris may also be looking back at his last post in the NFL. As he arrived in Orchard Park for the first offseason team exercises this week, Harris posted a message that some New England Patriots fans saw as a dig at their team.
Damien Harris Causes a Stir
After he arrived in Orchard Park this week workouts, Harris took to Instagram to share a picture of himself walking into the team facility. The running back wore a hat with the message “Free at Last,” and he shared the same message in the caption of his message.
Some Patriots fans saw that as a dig at their team, where Harris played for the first four years of his career before joining the Bills last month.
“Mad disrespect to the fans who supported you from the jump,” one person wrote, adding that the Patriots showed faith in Harris after he joined the team as a third-round pick and saw limited action in his rookie year.
“What does this even mean. ‘Free at last’ goes to a franchise that’s never won anything. Ever,” one person commented.
But others defended Harris, saying that his message may not have been a dig at the Patriots.
“Why do people automatically think it means football and start bashing! There is more to their lives… happy to have you in Buffalo blue!” a person wrote.
Damien Harris Excited to Join the Bills
Harris has expressed excitement at joining the Bills, telling the team website in March that he admired the franchise and the “trajectory” of the team.
“This is a great organization, from top to bottom, from ownership to the management to the coaching the players, the entire staff,” Harris said. “I feel like the transition into a great organization, it’s just obviously so appealing. The trajectory of this organization, kind of the momentum that this team is building, it’s all appealing. And it’s all something that I wanted to be a part of, and something that I felt like I could come in and help with.”
Harris has the chance to play a big role in the offense in the coming season, as the team’s primary running back, Singletary, left to join the Houston Texans. Cook will likely take a larger share of the carries after showing promise in his rookie season, but Harris will likely play an important role as well. Bills general manager Brandon Beane said earlier in the offseason that the team wanted to add a “heavier” running back, and Harris will be the team’s biggest back at 5-foot-11 and 213 pounds.