Five Questions With New Orleans Saints Safety Roman Harper | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Five Questions With New Orleans Saints Safety Roman Harper

December 15, 2011

Must See Football Videos

Six years ago, fresh-faced rookie Roman Harper was pressed into service as the starting safety for an aging New Orleans Saints secondary. “It seemed like I was the only guy in the secondary with under nine years of experience,” says Harper.

Darren Sharper and Roman Harper New Orleans Saints.

Under the guidance of Darren Sharper, left, Roman Harper emerged as an elite safety.

Now, Harper is a Super Bowl champion, two-time Pro Bowler and unquestioned leader of the Saints' defensive backfield.

Earlier this month, we highlighted how Harper’s Hope 4*1 Foundation is impacting the lives of New Orleans-area families. Here, Harper talks about learning to become a leader, the former teammate who helped him elevate his game, and how he's managed to miss only two games over the past five seasons.

STACK: You’re one of the undisputed leaders of the Saints defense. What are some things you try to instill in the young players?

Roman Harper: I’m just trying to teach guys the little things that I’ve learned over the years, and trying to make the young guys grow as men both on and off the field. It really means a lot that guys look up to me. I don’t look at myself as some big hero, or that I’m something special. I’m just Roman and that’s all I know. I just try to continue to be the best player I can be and the best person I can be.

STACK: As a young player, you learned the ropes from one of the best safeties in the game—Darren Sharper. How did he help with your development as a player?

RH: To have someone like Darren Sharper come on board was huge for me. Sharp was a mentor to me. He taught me how to watch film, how to anticipate certain plays, how to take care of my body and to look at the game through a bigger picture.

Now it’s come full circle. He was the older guy in the room, and he had a young, up-and-coming safety—which was me at the time; and now, I’ve got a young, up-and-coming safety in Malcolm Jenkins, who’s a heck of a player. He’s going to be a great player in this league.

STACK: What leadership advice could you offer to a high school athlete?

"If you can’t get on my level with the way I work and how hard I go, then you probably won’t be on the field with me for long." —Roman Harper

RH: The best thing you can do is lead by example. Talk only goes so much. My high school coach always told me, "I want your actions to speak so loud that I can’t even hear what you’re saying." I go out there and give it my all every day. That’s what speaks volumes, that I’m working hard, and if you can’t get on my level with the way I work and how hard I go, then you probably won’t be out there on the field with me for long.

STACK: Speaking of being on the field, you’ve missed only two games in five seasons. What’s the secret to your durability?

RH: Knowing how to get out of the way (laughs). It’s all about picking and choosing your battles. That, and I’ve been very blessed.

STACK: What’s the one piece of advice you would give a high school player moving forward in their playing career?

RH: As a high school player, don’t worry about going to the NFL. Continue to enjoy your life and enjoy the high school experience. I loved every bit of my high school career. When you get to college, enjoy it, soak it all up and continue to have fun with it, and just work as hard as you can. Put everything you’ve got into it—your mind, your intent—and everything else will take care of itself.

Photos:  proplayerinsiders.com/espn.com

Topics: FOOTBALL
Zac Clark
- Zac Clark is STACK Media's Custom Content Manager. Prior to joining STACK in September 2008, he served as an editorial assistant for USA Hockey Magazine...
Zac Clark
- Zac Clark is STACK Media's Custom Content Manager. Prior to joining STACK in September 2008, he served as an editorial assistant for USA Hockey Magazine...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Study: Athletes Think Faster, More Accurately Than Non-Athletes

Build Mental Toughness in the Weight Room

How to 'Keep Your Cool' on the Football Field

6 Ideas to Build a More Cohesive Team

How Mentally Tough Are You?

Home Field Advantage Is Real, Says Science

So You Didn't Make the Team? 5 Ways to Move On

Can a Faster Brain Increase Sports Performance?

Get Tough on Your Goals to Get Fit

4 Tips for Building Confidence

Overcome the 5 Most Common Mental Mistakes in Sports

Overcome Your Fear of Failure

The One Word You Should Never Say to Yourself

The Art of Strength and Conditioning Coaching

How Mental Performance Affects Your Workouts

4 Reasons Your Team Is Losing

What's Your Backup Plan When 'Plan A' Fails?

Don't Take Your Headphones to the Gym

Does Home Field Actually Confer an Advantage?

5 Tips to Becoming a Successful Athlete

3 Ways to Develop Your Football Warrior Mentality

A Coach Describes What It

Regain Your Confidence by Getting BIG

Growth Mindset: How to Think Like a Champion

4 Obstacles to Better Goal Setting

5 Steps to Becoming a Better Coach

How Mental Flexibility Boosts Your Game

How to Improve Mental Focus on the Baseball Diamond

5 Steps to Changing a Bad Habit

How Nik Wallenda Prepared to Walk Across the Grand Canyon

Use Sports Psychology Against Your Opponents

Why You Should Be Training Instead of Exercising

Make Goals, Not Deals

The Holistic Approach to Impactful Sports Coaching

How Clayton Kershaw Gets in the Zone

4 Ways to Turn Mental Toughness Into Physical Toughness

5 Tips for Playing Mentally Tough Tennis

Tips to Be a Better Leader

Are You Playing With a Winning Mindset?

Mental Warm-Up: How to Build Confidence Before a Game

Positive Affirmations for Athletes

Visualize Yourself Winning, and You're Halfway There