It had to be particularly disconcerting for Dawsey, who prior to his injury was known as one of the best young possession receivers in the NFL, a player who made his living catching balls in traffic. "I told myself, Hey, you've got to hold on to the ball." says Dawsey. "You can't have fear on the field, because it will hurt you in the long run."
By game's end he had heeded his own counsel. He finished the game as the Bucs' top receiver with four catches for 65 yards, including a 34-yard TD play. On Sunday he led all Buc receivers again with five catches for 73 yards as the Bucs lost to the Vikings 36-13.
There hasn't been much to smile about in Tampa Bay this season as the Bucs have fallen to 2-6, but Dawsey's comeback has been one reason to cheer. The hard work he put in to his rehabilitation inspired his teammates. "I think I jumped higher than he did when he scored that touchdown against the 49ers," says Buc strength coach Brad Roll.
Bearing Up Well
No one would blame Bear rookie running back Raymont Harris for being a little apprehensive these days. With the sudden retirement of veteran fullback Merril Hoge on Oct. 17 due to postconcussion syndrome, the Bears have had to throw Harris, a halfback who was never called on to block much in college, into the breach. But the fourth-round pick from Ohio State, who is scheduled to make his third start of the season in Monday night's game against the Packers, claims he's feeling no pressure. Why?
"I meditate every day to keep my sanity," says the taciturn Harris, whose nickname is Quiet Storm. "I'll turn off the lights, put on some jazz, light incense and rock in my rocking chair. I think about life, put things in perspective. A person can lose his sanity quickly in the NFL."
Compared with most NFL fullbacks, the six-foot, 225-pound Harris is a little too small. And as running backs go, he's a little too slow. What he does have is a nice combination of abilities: the moves to run around tacklers and the strength to run through them. He gained 1,344 yards for the Buckeyes last season, and going into Monday night's game, Harris had run for 155 yards on 34 carries this season.
In Chicago's ball-control, short-passing game, Harris says he isn't primarily a blocker, as many fullbacks are, and that suits him just fine. "First and foremost, I'm not a fullback," Harris says. "I'm still a running back deep down. I've never seen another runner with my style. My best asset is my determination, that second effort I give after the initial contact. And that comes from the heart."