The Giants lured Damon Harrison across the hallway at MetLife Stadium, bringing him in from the Jets.
Harrison, known as “Big Snacks,” spent the past four seasons with the Jets.
Harrison said of joining the Giants, “They’ve seen how far I’ve come and where I’ve been and where I am now, and they all appreciate the journey that I’ve been on and they’re happy for me.”
Q: When you talk about that journey, where did you view it as? When you came into the league, where were you? Where were you in comparison to where you are now as a player?
A: When I came into the league I was pretty much viewed as a camp body—somebody who they brought in to see if I could play; the rookie camp and I made it through the rookie mini-camp and the expectations were low. Every day I feared walking into the locker room or walking into the building and having a guy asking me for my playbook. I want to say for the better part of a year that fear sat with me and it forced me to work hard each and every day, on the field and as well as off the field, to where now I’m more of an established player. Trust me, I don’t think I’ve made it at all, I still have a lot to prove to myself. Just in comparison where I was then to where I am now, it’s night and day.
Q: Obviously, you’re moving from a 3-4 to a 4-3 [defense]. Was that something that ever gave you hesitation or do you think this is going to open up a new aspect of your game?
A: I think I’ll be able to show more, but a lot of people—I don’t know—they have the 3-4 and the 4-3, I guess they have it confused. It’s almost similar, the only difference is the outside linebackers. The guys along the line play the exact same positions. In the 3-4 you have your 5-technique, you have a shade, and you have the 3-technique. You have a linebacker who’s also outside in the five—that’s the exact same thing in the 4-3. But in a 4-3, you don’t play a lot of zero noses that you do in the 3-4. It’s almost the exact same thing, but with just defensive ends in as linebackers.
Q: Are you going to have to move or can you stay in the same house you’ve been living in? If so, what kind of bonus is that in free agency?
A: I’ll tell you what man, the transition is going to be so easy. If I wanted to, I could stay exactly where I am. My stepdaughter would have to get out of school. I could live in the house I’ve been living in for some time now, but I’m choosing to move closer on this side so I can get to work a whole lot easier. It’s so easy that it seems unreal that I can do exactly what I’ve been doing for the past four years without having to change anything, just coming to a new facility.
Q: How much did that weigh into your decision?
A: I wouldn’t say that it played any part at all. I was prepared to do just about anything, whether it was move halfway across the country, or I’d been hearing people say, just crossing the street and going over on the side of the street. So it didn’t play much role at all.
Q: Was it something that surprised you that you’d be able just to go to the Giants? Was it something you were expecting when free agency started?
A: I didn’t know what to expect to be honest with you. You know your value as a player and you know what you put out on film. A lot of people just don’t’ understand my position and they don’t understand exactly what it is that I do, but I know the people that play the game and the coaches, they know exactly what I do. I really just went into blind, I didn’t know what to expect from who.
Q: You know Jonathan Hankins at all? Have you reached out to him yet?
A: No sir, I haven’t reached out to him. I think I’ve seen him off the field maybe once or twice.
Q: How do you think you guys will work together on the interior? That’s a lot of player there to stop the run.
A: Just both do our jobs to the best of our abilities and complement each other, work off each other; as well as the guys on the outside. I think it will be fun with me and big Hankins in the middle.
Q: Sometimes guys who used to play nose tackle come in and they ask them to maybe drop a couple pounds. Have the Giants asked you about your weight and where they would like to see you?
A: No sir. I don’t believe we’ve even got that detailed into the conversations yet. From myself and my personal reasons, I’ve been dropping at least a few pounds every offseason the last three years. So I myself have been losing weight.
Q: We all know Rex [Ryan] gave you the nickname. Does ‘Snacks’ travel? With the Giants are you still ‘Snacks’?
A: You can’t hide away from it, man—or I can’t. I can’t hide, I can’t run from it. I didn’t like it at first, but it’s grown on me and the fans love it, so Snacks is here to stay.
Q: You saw one of the Giants collapses on defense up close and personal last year when the Jets beat the Giants. I’m just wondering, is there personal motivation to help a Giants defense literally go from worst to a whole lot better than that?
A: It’s motivation in general, not even just from that game, just to help this franchise get back to where they were. They invested a lot in me, and I know they’re expecting a lot out of me. That alone, in itself without even talking our game last year, that alone is the motivation to help the franchise get back.
Q: Was there any point in this process you thought you may be back in the last two, three, four months? How did that play out and when did you come to the realization you were going to have to go elsewhere to receive your market value?
A: With respect to both sides, I don’t want to get too detailed and deep into it. It was a decision that I made, literally, last minute. It could have went either way. I think I made the right choice, that’s no disrespect to the Jets organization the people there. It could have went either way. I’ve been seeing a lot of stuff from other people, but they have no clue on what was going on.