EUGENE, Ore. - The University of Oregon announced Monday afternoon that playmaker Cliff Harris has been dismissed from the Rose Bowl-bound Oregon Ducks football team by head coach Chip Kelly.
A press release from the University simply said Harris was dismissed for a violation of team rules. No other details were included.
However, the Fresno Bee newspaper reported that Harris was cited in Fresno for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana.
Fresno Police told the newspaper that Harris and some friends were stopped by officers on Nov. 25 while walking. Harris was cited at the scene for having pot and released, police said.
Harris, who was a 2010 consensus All-American, finished his Oregon career with 61 tackles in 27 appearances, eight interceptions for one touchdown, and returned 38 punts for a 16.2-yard average and four more scores.
But the affable and oft-quoted Harris, who was electrifying on kick returns, pass defense and considered a top playmaker, was not able to keep out of trouble off the playing field, including a citation for driving 118 miles an hour on Interstate 5 near Eugene in the early morning hours of June 12.
The officer who chased and pulled over Harris also found Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas and two other men in the vehicle and reported he smelled marijuana. Harris' license was suspended at the time. No drugs were found and no one was arrested but Harris was fined over $1,600.
Harris was suspended from the team and had to sit out the crucial 2011 opening game against LSU, which Oregon lost 40-27 before going on a nine-game winning streak.
He returned to see limited action as the season progressed, but in October, he was again pulled over in Eugene for a seat belt violation and was found to be driving without a valid license and no insurance.
He didn't play again for the team.