Payton joked with Deonte Harris after Pro Bowl selection


The NFL announced its Pro Bowl rosters Tuesday and Saints kick returner Deonte Harris’ phone erupted as texts and calls poured in after his name was listed as the NFC’s return specialist.

One of those calls came from his head coach congratulating him but also humbling the undrafted rookie at the same time. 

“I told him they voted on it prior to his fumble though,” Sean Payton said. 

Harris smiled as as he recalled that message as well as some of the others.

“Soon as it happened, my parents Facetimed me and my mother’s screaming, jumping up and down. So, it’s a crazy feeling.” Harris said. 

The Pro Bowl selection is the latest chapter in the NCAA’s all-time leading kick returner’s journey and Harris said it’s a surreal feeling.

He signed with the Saints shortly after the 2019 NFL Draft and after impressing in the preseason, Harris earned a spot on New Orleans’ 53-man roster as well as the starting punt and kick return duties.

He’s currently second in the NFL averaging 9.9 yards per punt return and scored a touchdown of a return in the Saints win at Seattle.

Harris play has also grabbed the attention of opposing coaches as well. Titans head coach Mike Vrabel called the kick returner “very fearless.”

“They've got a very good special teams group,” Vrabel said. “They’ve blocked punts. They have returned kicks for touchdowns, and Harris is explosive and he’s tough, and he is physical. That is a pretty good quality to have as far as (a) returner.”