Chip just couldn't ever get through to Cliff Harris, and we're left wondering, "what if?"
And the wild ride of Cliff Harris comes to an end. According to Andy McNamara of the Oregon Athletic Department:
Oregon has dismissed Cliff Harris from the football program.
[Update] It's pretty easy to guess why Harris was dismissed. Over Thanksgiving break, he was cited for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana in Fresno.
While some Duck fans will wash their hands of Harris, I can't do that. He leaves Oregon as the most exciting and talented cover corner I've ever seen play for the Ducks. He had instincts that you can't teach. Last season, he made Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, and Matt Barkley look silly with some great interceptions. He was electric in the run game, and Oregon would not have made the title game without him.
As McNamara also notes on his twitter account, "Harris leaves as Oregon's career leader in punt return average at 16.2 & is 1 of 4 consensus All-Americas in UO history."
But despite his spectacular sophomore season, Harris never seemed to "get" the Oregon coaching staff. He didn't start for large chunks of last season. Nick Aliotti would always talk about Harris "conforming." With these on-the-field problems, Harris' relatively minor off-the-field issues seemed to push things over the edge.
It's a sad end to a tale that is told all too often in college football. My memory of Cliff will be the spectacular plays and his unforgettable personality. It sucks that it has to end this way. Good luck, Cliff.