TheJetsBlog is pleased to announce that Kristian Dyer will be writing some weekly pieces for the blog this season. Look for his work throughout the week.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — During his Monday afternoon press conference, Jets head coach Rex Ryan dubbed massive nose tackle Damon Harrison “Big Snacks.” The “Big” part of that moniker certainly makes sense, with Harrison casting a giant shadow at six foot four inches and 335 pounds.
But calling Harrison “Snacks” just didn’t add up.
It turns out that during minicamp and training camp, defensive line coach Karl Dunbar used to leave Rice Krispie Treats on Harrison’s desk during team meetings. Harrison, who has lost nearly 20 pounds since rookie mini-camp in May, was told to shed weight so as to positively affect his mobility in keeping with the Jets “one step faster” motto of the offseason. Dunbar would place one or two Rice Krispie Treats in front of his rookie nose tackle prior to defensive line meetings to make a joke – and also perhaps a point.
“He would often leave one there for me, just leave it there and not say a word,” Harrison told TheJetsBlog. “I never had one that he put in front of me. Sometimes, I’d turn it on him and leave one on his desk.”
Harrison came to the Jets a complete unknown out of William Penn, a tiny NAIA program in Iowa. He’s been through a lot, including Hurricane Rita ripping his southeast Louisiana town apart, being cutting by his junior high team and more recently the junior college team he was recruited to play for before going to William Penn also cut him. But through it all, Harrison has persevered and now he made the Jets 53-man roster after an impressive preseason.
He doesn’t like the nickname of “Big Snacks” although it seems to be sticking around the Jets locker room. With that being said, his snacks have become different over the past two months as he’s shed weight and definitely do not resemble the Rice Krispie Treats that Dunbar would taunt him with during training camp.
“Salads right now,” Harrison said, shaking his head at his locker. “Right now, just eating a lot of salads.”
Kristian R. Dyer is a contributor to The Jets Blog and covers the Jets for Metro New York and contributes to Yahoo!Sports. He can be followed @KristianRDyer.