Oregon Ducks: Will Cliff Harris Be Kicked off Oregon Football Team?

Sean LarsonContributor IIIOctober 24, 2011

BERKELEY, CA - NOVEMBER 13:  Cliff Harris #13 of the Oregon Ducks celebrates after he returned a punt for a touchdown against the California Golden Bears  at California Memorial Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Berkeley, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Cliff Harris has been cited by the Eugene Police Department for driving with a suspended license, driving uninsured and driving without a seat belt on, according to The Associated Press. This comes just four months after Harris was pulled over for driving 118 mph down I-5 and admitting to smoking marijuana. 

This will undoubtedly force Chip Kelly to suspend Harris for the remainder of the season. However, Harris's sloppy punt return against Colorado that gave them their only points of the day could be the last memory of the speedy cornerback for Ducks fans.

There is a high chance that Cliff Harris will be released from the football program entirely, thus most likely ending any hopes he once had of making it to the NFL. His maturity and decision making were already red flags hurting his draft stock, and this latest incident hurts that stock even more. 

This situation is much like the Jeremiah Masoli situation the Ducks dealt with after the 2009 season. In that case, Masoli plead guilty to burglary after stealing a laptop from a fraternity on campus and was later pulled over by police for failing to stop as he pulled out of a parking lot. The two incidents led to Masoli being released from the program. 

However, Masoli was able to save his chance at an NFL career by transferring to Mississippi, where he played during the 2010 season. Masoli did make it to the NFL for a brief stint with the San Francisco 49ers. 

Harris has had a slow first half of the season with many of his mistakes coming on punt returns. In the Ducks' game against Colorado, Harris fielded a punt, ran backwards into the end zone and was tackled for a safety. They were Colorado's only points of the day. 



Ducks fans across the nation are currently burying their faces into their palms after hearing about the latest incident with Harris. Sadly, many fans are not surprised by this incident. Personally, I believed it was only a matter of time before Harris had another run-in with the law.

Harris will likely be replaced by redshirt freshman Terrance Mitchell, who has been playing a lot this season anyway because Kelly has kept Harris on the sidelines for much of the season after his offseason troubles.

This incident will hurt Oregon's special teams more than their defense. Oregon's opponents are averaging just over 20 points per game this season. But the speedy Ducks have multiple weapons they could use on special teams, including running backs Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas.

No longer will Oregon fans suffer weekly heart attacks when Harris fields punts of bounces like he has done so often this year.  

Looking ahead, Oregon takes on Washington State at home this weekend before a brutal three game stretch. After Washington State, Oregon will travel to Washington and Stanford before returning home to play USC.

The matchup against Stanford will likely have heavy BCS implications. The winner will be in the driver's seat for the Pac-12 North. After heading to Palo Alto, Oregon will face USC, who they have beaten three years in a row, and Oregon State, who is looking worse and worse each year. Both games are at home, where the Ducks have not lost a conference game since 2007.

Stanford also has a fairly smooth finish after Oregon as they will face California, who are near the bottom of the conference standings in the North, and Notre Dame, who are fighting to stay above .500 with a 4-3 record.

But how will the Ducks defense and special teams fare after this incident? Only time will tell.

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