Chip Kelly on Cliff Harris: 'Disappointing'
Oregon coach Chip Kelly says the situation surrounding suspended cornerback Cliff Harris is "very disappointing."
Kelly did not comment at length about Harris at his weekly news conference on Tuesday. He said Oregon continues to look into the circumstances of Harris' traffic stop by Eugene police on Monday afternoon.
Harris was suspended by the No. 7 Ducks just hours after he was cited for driving on a suspended license, driving without insurance, and failure to wear a seatbelt.
Harris, who was also cited by state police in June for driving 118 mph on Interstate 5, is not allowed to participate in any football-related activities for now.
An All-American who broke up 23 passes and averaged 18.8 yards per punt return last season, Harris faces fines in excess of $952. The car he was driving, which police say belongs to a relative, was impounded.
Asked about the depth at cornerback, Kelly said the Ducks are fine. Oregon has started Anthony Gildon and Terrence Mitchell at the position.
"We're four-deep at corner," he said, "and Cliff hasn't played a whole lot anyway."
In the June traffic stop, Harris was cited by Oregon State Police for speeding and driving on a suspended license.
Harris, who was driving a rented car he says was lent to him by a university employee, was suspended indefinitely after the incident by Kelly and did not play in Oregon's season-opening loss to LSU at Cowboys Stadium.
He was allowed to practice with the team during fall camp and was reinstated just before Oregon's 69-20 victory over Nevada on Sept. 10.
Harris' family paid the $1,620 in fines for the citations. The university compliance office was looking into whether NCAA rules were broken when the school employee allowed him to use the rental car.
Later, a dashboard video released by the Oregon State Police revealed that Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas was a passenger in the rental car.
Harris has nine tackles in six games this season for the Ducks (6-1, 4-0 Pac-12.) He also has an interception and nine punt returns for 68 yards.
In Oregon's 45-2 victory over Colorado last weekend, the Buffaloes tackled Harris on a punt return in the end zone for a safety. He was also flagged before the game started for taunting, which allowed Colorado to kick off from the 45 to start the game.
As a sophomore last season, Harris set an Oregon record with four punt returns for touchdowns. He became known not just for his explosive speed, but for his colorful quotes.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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