LaRon Harris signs with Bills

LaRon Harris, a prized defensive line prospect out of Memphis whose career with the University of Tennessee football program never panned out, is getting a chance to play pro football nonetheless.

Now packing 347 pounds on his 6-2½ frame, he has signed a free agent contract with the NFL's Buffalo Bills.

LaRon Harris was considered one of the better prospects in Tennessee's 2002 signing class but he showed up with a lot of baggage – excess weight and a lot of pent-up anger related to being abandoned by his father at an early age. Harris' weight, immaturity and indifference toward academics combined to get him ousted from the Vol program after two disappointing years.

After bouncing around for a long while, he wound up trying to resurrect his career at Northwestern Oklahoma State last fall. He recorded eight tackles and one-half sack in six games. Still, the Bills liked his athleticism to offer him a free-agent deal.

"He's a guy that has great upside potential," college scout Shawn Heinlen said in an article on Buffalo's free-agent signees posted at the website. "Obviously, failing out at Tennessee and getting caught on at the lower level at Northwestern Oklahoma State, he's a little ways away, but as far as pure athletic ability, for a guy his size the potential is there for him being as good as he wants to be. It's just a matter of if he's going to be able to get there."

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