There are a number of football players that fans consider to be the greatest, including the likes of Joe Montana, Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Terrell Owens. However, there are many players who have accomplished a lot during their football tenure, one of which being the dynamic Marvin Harrison. Marvin Harrison is one of the greatest receivers to ever step foot on a football field, playing 13 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and averaging 93 catches a year. He played the majority of his career with another legendary player, quarterback Peyton Manning. We’ll be exploring the entirety of Harrison’s career, from the early years in high school, all the way to his time in the National Football League (NFL) and his life after retiring from football below.
Early Life to College Years
Marvin Harrison was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 25, 1972. With no parks and not much grass, Harrison discovered his passion for football while playing in the streets of Philly on the asphalt. He was raised by a hard-working mother who worked two jobs and instilled discipline, a strong work-ethic, and thrift in a young Harrison, which carried these qualities over into the way he approached sports. He became a hot prospect while playing running back and basketball during his time at an all-boys Roman Catholic High School.
Several colleges tried recruiting him, but he ended up choosing Syracuse University, where he played for the Syracuse Orange football team. He was known for his stunning speed as a running back in high school, but his coaches at Syracuse shifted him to wide receiver. They may have seen something inside him not quite apparent to the world, but came to fruition as a three-year starter who set a school record of 2,718 career receiving yards that stood until 2017. During his final year, he played with legendary quarterback Donovan Mcnabb and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in retail management.
In the 1996 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts selected Marvin Harrison as the 19th pick in the 1st round of the draft. The Colts won nine games during his rookie season, and he scored eight touchdowns that year. The next two years were a bit rough for the Colts, they only won three games per year and his receiving stats went down. Things became brighter for the team when they drafted Peyton Manning in 1999 as the number one draft pick of the draft. From 1999 to 2006, Harrison averaged 1,113 receiving yards every season. In 2002, he achieved a career-high of 1,722 yards and set the single season reception record of 143 catches that wouldn’t be surpassed until 2019 by Mark Thomas.
Harrison continued performing exceptionally well every year, culminating in his first Superbowl victory over the Chicago Bears in 2006. This would be a highlight of his career, earning him his first and only Superbowl ring. The following year Harrison suffered a knee injury, putting him on the sidelines for the majority of the season, only playing five games. Even though he had a full recovery, the injury had a profound impact on his performance and play-making abilities. In 2008, he scored five touchdowns and went for 636 yards. He chose to retire at the end of 2006, leaving the NFL with 128 touchdowns, 1,102 career receptions for 14,580 yards. Many consider him and Manning to be one of the best quarterback receiver duos in history scoring 112 touchdowns and catching over 950 passes at the time. He solidified his place in wide receiver history, six-time All Pro and eight-time Pro Bowl status.
Motivated individuals have to find ways to stay busy during their retirement and Marvin Harrison is no exception. As of 2009, he is an active landlord and owns a total of 20 properties, many of these situated around the same Northern Philadelphia block he grew up on. He even runs several businesses in Philadelphia including the Playmaker sports bar, Chuckie’s Garage, his aunt’s soul food restaurant, and his mother Linda’s Italian restaurant. In 2011, Harrison was inducted into the Indianapolis Colt’s Ring of Honor. In 2016, Harrison was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame despite being nominated two times before this.
Harrison lives with his wife Dawne who he has two kids with, Jett and Marvin Jr. Marvin Jr. is slowly making a name for himself, playing wide receiver for the Ohio State University Buckeyes. Marvin Jr. is showing flashes of brilliance on the field similar to his old man, being touted as a top 100 prospect in the recruiting class. Harrison Sr. has always been a private individual, allowing his skills to do all the talking necessary throughout the years. He’s on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot for 2023 and even if he doesn’t make it, he’ll go down in history as one of the best players to ever touch a football.