Harmon heading for Europe

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 3, 2006

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Jason Harmon is planning a European vacation. Actually, it’s a working vacation.

Harmon is about to spend three months in Europe, mostly in Frankfurt, Germany. But Harmon isn’t concerned about the sights or famous landmarks. The only place he really wants to see is the Frankfurt Galaxy football stadium.

The former Ironton High School and Michigan State defensive back has been given a new life after signing a free agent contract with the Chicago Bears who are sending the two-time Big Ten strong safety to play in NFL Europe in a developmental program.

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“I have to go over there and prove myself. It at least guarantees me a chance to come back to (the Bears training) camp,” Harmon said.

Harmon was in the Bears camp last summer but did not escape being cut. Still, he made enough of an impression that the Bears liked what they saw and remained in contact.

“They liked me but they had to let me go,” Harmon said. “They called and told me to stay in shape. They told me I’d be one of the first ones picked to go to Europe. Before the season was over they called and gave me a contract,” Harmon said.

Harmon is training at Michigan State and will head to Tampa, Fla., for training on Feb. 12. He will leave for Germany on March 1 and remain overseas for about three months as they play a 10-game schedule.

Harmon won’t be the only former Ironton player in Europe or on the Galaxy. Cornerback James Taylor will also play for the Galaxy.

Taylor signed last summer with the New York Jets only to have his season end prematurely due to a knee injury.

“James told me he’s almost 100 percent,” Harmon said.

“It’s going to be pretty fun playing with James. It’ll be kind of exciting to have a teammate you know. I’ll be easier for us. We want to prove ourselves. James and I want to come back here and play on Sundays.”

Harmon said he wants to build on his experience from the Bears training camp and what he’ll learn from playing in NFL Europe.

“The Bears focus a lot on defense. The playbook was so thick it was hard to learn. But I’m an aggressive defensive player and it was a great experience behind around the players and coaches. You get to see what it’s like,” Harmon said.

“It’s not that much different from what we did at Ironton or Michigan State. The difference is you’ve got a lot more to learn and the coaches are different. After a few days I got used to it,” Harmon said.

Harmon was an All-Big Ten selection each of the past two seasons. He led the Spartans in tackles his sophomore and seniors seasons and was second as a junior.

His junior year he had 108 tackles and 10 passes broken up to lead the team, four forced fumbles and three interceptions.

Harmon enjoyed his best game with the Spartans against Illinois in a 49-14 rout. Harmon ran a fumble back for a touchdown, forced a fumble, He had eight tackles and intercepted a pass.