I have to admit, when news broke the Pittsburgh Steelers were going to host offensive tackle Ryan Harris as a potential free agent signing, I couldn't have picked him out of a lineup. I knew the name, especially with the Steelers playing his former team, the Denver Broncos, twice in 2015, but when I did a quick search to find a picture for the story for the site, something jogged my memory.
Before I go any further, it should be known I have an associative memory. I can link faces of actors and actresses to TV shows and movies they have been a part of years and years ago. I can tell you the most in obscure song or Steelers statistic known to man from way before my 33-years on this Earth. Might think it sounds cool to have a memory like that, right? Don't tell my wife that, she finds it to be quite annoying at times.
Nonetheless, when I saw Harris' face, I knew I had seen him on television somewhere other than on Saturdays or Sundays playing football. I sat there for a second, and it hit me: He was on an episode of MTV's "True Life" back in 2003. To be certain, I did a quick Google search, and my memory didn't let me down. Harris was indeed one of three individuals showcased on "True Life: I want the perfect body" .
Cameras followed Harris as he trained his Senior year in High School to stay in shape, and gain weight, before going to Notre Dame in the Fall for his freshman year of college. 13 years later, Harris is now a member of the Steelers coming off a Super Bowl win with the Broncos.
In an interview with the Denver Post in November of 2015, Harris talked about what it was like being on TV and how it impacted his life.
Q: How did the episode of MTV's "True Life" come about?
A: "When you get recruited, your (high school) coach will be like, 'Hey, Michigan called. Give them a call back when you have time.' One day he comes in and says, 'Hey, MTV called. They want you to give them a call.' So I call this dude and he's like, 'You ever hear of "True Life?"' I'm like, 'Yeah.' He's like, 'We're doing a show on positive weight gain. I'm a Notre Dame fan, I see you need to gain weight to go to college. Do you want to be on it?' 'Sure.' He's like, 'All right, I'll call you back in a few weeks and I'll come see you.' "
Q: How long do they follow you around?
A: "He just came two separate days for like five hours to work out with me. I didn't think anything of it. Once it aired, I left the next day for school and somebody stopped me in the airport and was like, 'Yo, you were on MTV.' And ever since then â we went to Mexico for spring break and the bus driver was like, 'MTV! MTV!' It was rough as a freshman. You can imagine a freshman coming in and being on MTV, I mean, they're not having any of that. But it worked out. Ended up playing my freshman year, so it kind of dampened it out. It was crazy though."
Q: You ever regret doing it?
A: "Nah. It was fun. It was college. It was a great conversation-starter. I had no idea people would actually see it."
Q: Do you go back and watch it?
A: "I watched it when it aired, and I haven't seen it since."
Q: Why is nowhere to be found?
A: "It's un-dig-up-able. It's before the modern digital age. (Teammate Evan Mathis overhears and says, "I was looking for the DVD.") Can't find it."
Q: You're probably grateful for that, yes?
A: "Oh, so happy."
Q: Do people still come up to you and ask about it?
A: "No, a couple guys, like (rookie) Ty (Sambrailo) did earlier this year. It's funny, people will see me now and they'll say, 'Hey, you were on MTV. What are you doing now?' I'll be like, 'Ah, I'm doing construction.' "