When you listen to Eli Harold talk about football, there's no mistaking the passion he has for the game. He's excited about learning from players he looks up to, he's motivated and determined when he talks about himself and when he talked about the live goal line play in practice, his eyes lit up and you can bet that his pulse quickened.
Harold had his first media session on Sunday and handled it like a pro. He talked about how he had been learning a lot from the now departed Aldon Smith who was to him, arguably, "the best pass rusher in the NFL." He continued by saying it was unfortunate what happened and he hopes that everything works out for him in the long run.
His time spent with Smith and newly inducted Hall of Famer Charles Haley was invaluable. "He (Haley) was just talking about stuff I never heard of. It's so neat how there's always a different level, a higher level to what you've already learned. He was showing me angles and pressure points and moves that I've never heard of. I look forward to meeting him again."
Harold isn't diminutive at 6'3, 247 lbs, but you'd think going up against the bigger 6'7-6'9 members of the OL could be daunting. Well, it doesn't worry him at all. In fact, he sees it as an advantage. "Just dippin' and rippin', most big guys, it takes a lot more energy for them to drop their hips and to get low as you." This has helped him in pass coverage. In run coverage however, he said going up against 6'8, 355 lbs Trent Brown is "a load" and a little more complicated than in pass coverage.
Along with everyone else on the team who is ready to hit someone other than another teammate, Harold is looking forward to the first preseason game at Houston. The goal line drills at the end of practice were just a preview of what's to come, and his favorite part of practice. He was in on the play when Tank Carradine made the hardest hit in practice on Jarryd Hayne who was going for a TD. Harold actually went one on one with Hayne right before that hit and talked about what he needed to work on to make that tackle the next time. The enthusiasm that Harold spoke with, talking about Carradine's hit was infectious. He's humble and hungry to be the best.
Several people in the media sessions have talked about about Harold having a "great motor." I asked him to clarify: "I've always been the little guy who just runs around all day. I just try to go where the ball is. Find the ball, go to the ball. You can't teach a guy to run to the ball, you can't teach a guy to be enthusiastic, you can't teach a guy to be passionate. I've always been a guy who will try to outwork the ones in front of me, I've always been overlooked, so I've always had that chip on my shoulder since day one. That's just how I live my life."