Ducks dismiss troubled, talented Harris


The strange three-year stay for Cliff Harris at the University of Oregon has ended.

The Ducks dismissed the talented but troubled punt returner and cornerback on Monday for a violation of team rules, said coach Chip Kelly in a news release.

Harris was suspended indefinitely on Oct. 24 and has since been prohibited from all football activities, missing Oregon's last five games of the regular season in addition to last Friday's Pac-12 title game.

The Fresno Bee reported that Harris was cited for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana on Nov. 25, the day after Thanksgiving.

The Fresno, Calif., junior had been credited with nine tackles and one interception in six games this season after missing the season-opening loss to LSU while serving another suspension for his summertime transgressions.

Harris was cited for driving 118 mph on Interstate 5, among other things. It was a car rented by a UO employee, and Harris had a suspended license at the time. It was later revealed that the police officer who stopped Harris asked him about marijuana use and the UO student-athlete known for his colorful quotes offered the infamous line, "We smoked it all." It was also revealed that QB Darron Thomas was in the car, although the two-year starter denied smoking marijuana.

Then, Harris was stopped in October with his license supposedly still suspended, and ultimately being cited for not wearing a seat belt, leading to the team suspension.

He had high hopes going into the season. Some mock NFL drafts had him pegged as first-round material.

The 2010 consensus All-American finished his Oregon career with 61 tackles in 27 appearances, eight interceptions for one touchdown, and he returned 38 punts for a 16.2-yard average and four more scores.

He has a year of college eligibility remaining.

Meanwhile, the Ducks, while they could have used the services of Harris against LSU and USC, managed to move on without him. Young players, including Terrance Mitchell, picked up the slack at cornerback.

In one of his appearances, Harris was tackled in the end zone after fielding a punt for a safety, accounting for Colorado's only points in a 45-2 UO win.

The Ducks earned their right to their third consecutive BCS game, preparing to play Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 2.