"It was a humbling experience," Harris said, "seeing what I had gained and what I had lost."
Whether those words are sincere will be determined during Harris's tenure in Philadelphia - if he even makes the team. It's premature for the coaches to form any meaningful evaluations - "You don't promote and demote anybody in T-shirts and shorts," secondary coach Todd Bowles said - but his college profile produced a resumé that most players in his position do not possess.
That was evident both in the way he played and with the throng of reporters waiting to speak with him after Tuesday's practice. It was also clear by the diligence the Eagles exhibited before signing him, when Harris explained his history to the team's decision-makers.
"Just that they understand my past," Harris said of the conversations. "Everybody makes mistakes. And they're going to give me the chance to prove myself and show everybody that I was young at the time, I made some young mistakes, and I've matured from them."
Those mistakes are highlighted by the notorious traffic stop in June 2011, but included other violations reportedly ranging from driving as a minor in possession of alcohol to a citation for marijuana possession. He played only six games last season for Oregon while serving suspensions that eventually turned into a dismissal.
Harris was never able to capitalize on 2010, when he returned four punts for touchdowns, made six interceptions and led the NCAA with 23 passes defended. He earned an invitation to the NFL scouting combine, but the baggage associated with his name proved too heavy for teams to invest a draft pick.
Harris is one of three undrafted players - along with Phillip Thomas and Damaris Johnson - the Eagles brought to training camp despite off-the-field issues. Duce Staley, the former Eagles running back who is now a quality-control coach, offered Harris the advice that he gives players with past troubles.
"You want to let the kid know that we believe in him," Staley said. "The first sign of that is when we called you and said, all right, we want you on the Philadelphia Eagles. We want to restore the feelings, that we understand he has some hiccups there - some things, some challenges - but we believe you could play football."
Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo scouted Harris and saw "really great ball skills." Harris's two interceptions Monday included one off a deflected pass and one on a leaping catch of a deep pass. On Tuesday, he jumped in front of a receiver to knock the ball away, although he followed it up with push-ups because he didn't make the interception. He also intercepted a pass after the whistle was blown for a false start. The rest of the players had stopped, but Harris kept running toward the ball.
Harris missed the team's minicamps because of Oregon's academic calendar, which prevented Harris from joining the team during its last full-squad practices. He participated in the rookie camps, though, and Bowles said Harris recalled much of the information. Harris noted that the Eagles' defense is similar to the scheme in which he excelled at Oregon, and that his standout plays came while he adhered to the system. Harris also pledged to maintain a dose of humility, fulfilling every task from cornerback to punt returning to "getting towels for the older guys."
Harris might have been an early-round pick if not for missing most of last season and the blemishes on his name, but he has accepted his reality as an undrafted player. The perspective that was missing when he was an all-American has been developed during the last year - or at least that's what he says now that he's at the bottom looking up.
"It provided to me that I have to be a professional at all times," Harris said. "On the field and off the field."
Contact Zach Berman at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @ZBerm.