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Harris aims to stick around for 'exciting time' with Jets

Linebacker David Harris has seen the NFL lockout delay his hopes for a new contract with the New York Jets, but the four-year veteran, who signed his franchise tender in February, expects to remain with the team on a long-term deal.

"I want to be here a long time, and they showed they hold me in high regard (with the franchise tag)," Harris told the *New York Daily News* on Monday. "This is an exciting time."

Harris has teamed with two-time All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis to make up the heart of coach Rex Ryan's defense. Harris was voted the Jets' MVP by his teammates last season after having 99 tackles and three sacks.

Harris would be the last of the Jets' "Core Four" players -- including Revis, center Nick Mangold and offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson -- to sign a new contract. The other three players received new deals before last season, and Harris acknowledged in August that he wouldn't get his until this offseason. However, any new contract now is on hold because of the NFL lockout, which is in its third month.

Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said shortly after the Jan. 23 AFC Championship Game loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers that re-signing Harris was a priority, and the linebacker appears to have the backing of his teammates. Fellow Jets linebacker Bryan Thomas told the newspaper Monday that Harris "deserves everything that he gets," adding that "he plays fast all the time, making plays that other guys just can't."

Since being a second-round draft pick out of Michigan in 2007, Harris has 428 tackles, 15 sacks, five forced fumbles and two interceptions for New York.

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