"I know exactly what the situation was and I'm not concerned with Darron Thomas whatsoever."
These the words of Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, who responded to new details Tuesday afternoon surrounding an excessive speeding violation leveled against junior cornerback Cliff Harris back in June.
According to a KVAL 13 report this afternoon, junior quarterback Darron Thomas, as well as former Duck defensive end Tyrell Irvin and one other individual, were traveling with Harris when he was pulled over in the wee hours that June morning. Unedited dashboard camera footage, originally acquired from KATU News from OSP trooper David Stallworth's patrol car, also indicates that a strong stench of marijuana originated from Harris' vehicle as Stallworth approached the car. When Stallworth questioned Harris about the marijuana, Harris replied, "We smoked it all." After it was discovered Harris had no license, Stallworth administered a field sobriety test on Harris -- which he passed -- issued Harris a speeding ticket, then released the players after it was determined that another one of the passengers had a valid driver's license.
No individuals were cited for possession of marijuana or any other drug charge.
When questioned about the new information after practice this afternoon, Kelly was rather straight-forward about the revelations.
"I knew this information for awhile," said Kelly. "It's not new information for us."
When asked about being concerned with Thomas' involvement in the incident (the third such incident where Thomas has been a notable passenger during a police traffic stop since Thomas has been in Eugene), Kelly said he knew the circumstances behind Thomas travelling with Harris that early morning.
"I knew exactly where Darron was," Kelly stated. "He needed a ride back from Portland cause he was coming back from ESPN (located in Bristol, Conn.) that day...I knew exactly what the situation was and I'm not concerned with Darron Thomas whatsoever."
Kelly went on to say that Thomas remains the unquestioned leader of his football team and described Thomas' leadership skills as, "good as I've been around."
Kelly was also pressed about Harris' admission to the OSP officer that the passengers had smoked all the marijuana. When asked if he had any concerns about Harris' statement, Kelly said "No," stating, "I saw Cliff go through a sobriety test (on the dashboard video) that the OSP officer let him go on."
"It always concerns me when there's anything like that around our players," Kelly continued, "but I know Cliff was not charged with anything...I would prefer my players aren't anywhere. I would prefer my players be in bed at midnight."
With the information now coming to public light, Kelly said that no re-assessments would be made with regard to Harris' current suspension, nor would a future suspension be in store for Thomas.
On the practice field, Christian French, Nick Cole and Blake Stanton all had standout performances today catching the football, with all three players still appearing very much in contention for playing time at tight end (French) and wide receiver (Cole and Stanton).
Fall camp practice continues Wednesday from 1:15 to 3:30, though the session is closed to the media and general public, per previous scheduling.
Sophomore wide receiver Josh Huff was sidelined once again Tuesday afternoon as he continues to nurse an undisclosed injury. Similar to Monday, Huff was in a helmet, yellow jersey and shorts this afternoon as he did individual work on the sidelines. No word has been given on his expected return...Ricky Heimuli was seen in a small walking boot this morning and afternoon, having limited participation with the team as he wore a helmet, green jersey and shorts. Same goes for redshirt freshman defensive end Tony Washington, who donned a brace on his knee as he observed practice on the sidelines for most of practice. Similar to Huff, no official word has been given on when either player is expected to return to practice.
Follow Chris Courtney on Twitter at eDuckCCourtney
Notes From Fall Camp: Day 8
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