EUGENE, Ore. — Former Oregon Duck star Cliff Harris has been released from another football team, and this time could be the last.
Harris, who has a history of marijuana use, was cut from the New York Jets Thursday before he ever played a game. Harris’ release comes after he was arrested with another teammate Monday, after police smelled and found marijuana in their car.
The incident sounds much like Harris’ first weed-related run-in with police two summers ago–a trend that may suggest Harris’ affinity for marijuana is more serious than people may have thought.
There was a time when many NFL analysts thought then-Duck defensive back Harris could be a first-round-draft pick. But Harris’ notability slowly drifted from breaking records, to breaking rules, beginning with the first and most memorable traffic stop back in June 2011.
That incident, led to Harris’ first round of reprimands. Coaches suspended him for the last six games of the season. Just months later, he was cited for possession in his hometown–another weed-related run-in. That preluded his official dismissal from the team, though coaches never said that was the reason. Even still, Harris pursued an NFL career, addressing his hiccups in interviews at Oregon’s pro-day last spring.
“I made a couple mistakes. I was young, and I’m just learning how to be a professional. That’s what it comes down to. I can’t make the same mistakes as an average person because there’s a lot of people that look up to me, and I have to keep them in mind more than myself sometimes,” Harris said.
Harris didn’t get drafted but instead picked up by as a free-agent, first by the Philadelphia Eagles and most recently by the New York Jets, but Harris didn’t even play a down before he was arrested again for possession of marijuana this week. The jets cut Harris, and it could very well be the last time he’s ever on a roster.
Michael Schwartz, a doctor at local treatment center Serenity Lane, says these are telling trends.
“People who have consequences, particularly legal consequences, multiple times, or job consequences, those things are usually pretty suggestive that its usually a use-disorder and usually pretty severe,” Schwartz said.
While Dr. Schwartz has never treated Cliff Harris, he’s seen patients with tendencies like his and says this could mean Harris might need more help.
“A lot of people think it’s a behavioral problem or a disease. I think it’s really a disease, and I think we have good people and a bad disease, and it’s hard for some people to separate the two,” Schwatz said.