Ex-New England Patriots running back Damien Harris joined rival Buffalo this week, swapping sides in the AFC East rivalry.
"I can finally say it now, but I love Bills Mafia," Harris said Tuesday in his introductory press conference, via the team's website. "The energy, the enthusiasm, everything that comes with it, I've loved it ever since I came into the league just because I love sports towns and communities that really rally behind their team. I don't know if anyone does that more than Buffalo fans."
Harris, a former third-round pick, spent four years with the Patriots, generating 2,094 rushing yards on 449 carries with 20 TDs. His best season came in 2021, when he earned 929 yards and 15 TDs on 202 carries. Last season, Harris dealt with injury, gaining 462 yards and three TDs on 106 carries in 11 games, and was passed on the Pats' depth chart by Rhamondre Stevenson.
Harris performed at his best when facing the Bills. In four career games against Buffalo, the RB generated 100-plus rushing yards three times and earned five total TDs, including a career-high three TDs in Week 16, 2021.
"I always said that playing against the Bills, I felt like brought out the best in me as a competitor and as a player," Harris said. "And from the outside looking in as an opponent, if I felt that way, then I knew that if I was able to join this organization, I feel like I could just take it to a new height."
Bills GM Brandon Beane entered the offseason targeting a "heavier" back to pair with second-year pro James Cook and shifty back/returner Nyheim Hines (who took a pay cut to stay in Buffalo). The desire to add a power runner was one reason the Bills moved on from Devin Singletary, who agreed to a one-year deal with the Houston Texans.
Harris' ability to shed arm tackles and convert in short-yardage situations adds diversity to the Bills' backfield. But given he inked a low-cost, one-year pact, it wouldn't preclude Buffalo from adding another option in a deep draft at the position.