Harris Dismissed From Team
'Repeated Violation Of Team Rules' Leads To Departure
Published: Thursday, May 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
Boston College’s all-time leading rusher, Montel Harris, will not be suiting up in the maroon and gold next fall, as he was permanently dismissed from the football team on Tuesday. Head coach Frank Spaziani made the announcement in a statement.
“Montel Harris has been permanently dismissed from our football team due to a repeated violation of team rules,” Spaziani said. “We are grateful for his contributions the past four seasons and will support him in completing his degree requirements and in his future pursuits.”
“They told me not to say anything,” Harris told The Boston Globe. “So I won’t. But I know I want to play football next season and fulfill my goal of playing in the National Football League.”
Reached by phone on Tuesday, Spaziani would not go any further into the details of the dismissal, other than saying that Harris had violated the team rules.
“It was about team rules, and that statement, I think, speaks for itself,” Spaziani said. “I can’t get into anything more than that.”
Harris’ status for the fall was up in the air, after his battle with a reoccurring knee injury. The Jacksonville native had been sidelined for the entirety of spring football, trying to avoid another setback with his left knee. Harris underwent arthroscopic knee surgery last August to try to repair his knee, but went down just a month later after he re-aggravated his injury.
Spaziani said that Harris had been feeling fine this spring, but he had heard that sentiment before too.
“This was Montel’s situation: when he first got hurt, we were counting on him playing in that bowl game five or six weeks later. And that never happened,” Spaziani said. “Then there was a setback, then he missed some time in the spring, and there was a setback and he missed some time in the summer. And then we didn’t think he was ready for the fall, and then he looked like he was ready, and he wound up playing two games and then had a setback.
“So it was a precarious injury at best. We were hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. After a while, we were hoping that he was going to be there, but the injury kept reoccurring and we just couldn’t count on him. That’s where the injury was. He was feeling fine—as far as he was now—but he’s felt fine two or three times before.”
Meanwhile, Harris told the Globe that his knee was improving, and that he could be ready to play again in the fall.
“It’s pretty close to 100 percent now,” Harris told the Globe. “I know I’m ready to play again.”
In his three-plus seasons on the Heights, Harris ran for 3,735 yards, and if he had been able to play this fall, he could have had the chance to break Ted Brown’s ACC rushing record.
“Montel’s accomplishments speak for themselves,” Spaziani said. “He’s the all-time leading rusher. His enthusiasm for football, his work ethic, and certainly his productivity were at the top of the food chain. You can’t take that away from him. His accomplishments are his accomplishments. Certainly, we didn’t see all of it because of this situation. But he was a great football player for BC, there’s no doubt about it.”
A combination of Deuce Finch, Andre Williams, and Tahj Kimble will now be depended upon heavily in the backfield for BC this coming fall, as they were for much of last season when Harris was out with the injury. The three gained plenty of experience while Harris was sidelined due to issues with his knee, and Spaziani will be looking to them to step up in Harris’ spot in a leadership position.
“You can never stockpile enough experience. So yeah, we’ll miss [Harris’ leadership], because he was a very experienced player. He’s been around and has some of those qualities we needed,” Spaziani said. “But we have other guys that have to step up. There’s leadership. There’s guys that have plenty of time and experience, and they will lend themselves.”