Former Edison High School football standout Cliff Harris is in trouble with the law again after an arrest on drug charges at a party in Clovis on Saturday, police reported.
The arrest happened just before 7 p.m. in the 1200 block of Shaw Avenue, where officers responded to a disturbance. Harris, 25, was booked into Fresno County Jail on charges of theft, possession of a controlled substance, possession of paraphernalia and revocation of post-release community supervision.
It’s the latest in a long line of criminal activity for Harris, who appeared to be on the verge of a standout pro football career just six years ago but has since been diagnosed with a condition associated with repeated concussions.
Court records say Harris was arrested in April this year on a felony charge of theft. On Aug. 9, he pleaded no contest to the felony charge and was sentenced to a year in jail. Because of time served, he was supposed to be released on Oct. 19, but was released nine days earlier because of jail overcrowding, court records say.
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As a condition of his release, Harris was to keep all scheduled appointments with his “psychiatrist/therapist, counselor, personal service coordinator and supervising probation officer and take all psychotropic medication as prescribed,” court documents say.
In December 2015, Harris was sentenced to a year in jail and three years of probation for starting an arson fire that burned a tiny patch of a grassy street median in Fresno.
At the sentencing, a court-appointed psychiatrist said Harris has chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease that afflicts people who have suffered repeated concussions, such as athletes in contact sports.
Harris was an All-American cornerback for Oregon in 2010. He was suspended from the team before the start of the 2011 season after being caught driving 118 mph by an Oregon state trooper, who said he smelled marijuana in the car. Harris’ reply: “We smoked it all.” He was dismissed from the team in December that year.
Harris wasn’t picked in the 2012 NFL Draft and signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles, who cut him after the season. A year later, he was cut by the New York Jets following an arrest for marijuana possession in New Jersey.
Fresno County court records say Harris has a half-dozen traffic tickets for offenses such as speeding, running a stop sign, driving without a license, lane straddling and driving at night without lights. His criminal record includes three misdemeanor cases and the felony arson case. The court record indicates he has failed to appear in court several times.
He also spent time in a state hospital this year after Fresno County Judge Don Penner declared him incompetent to assist in his defense to the arson charge.