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Harris is dismissed by BC

Rules violations cost running back

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / May 2, 2012
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Montel Harris didn’t want to talk about specifics. The past - which now includes Boston College football, with the announcement Tuesday that he had been dismissed from the team - is the past.

“Montel Harris has been permanently dismissed from our football team due to a repeated violation of team rules,’’ coach Frank Spaziani said in a statement. “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,’’ said Harris. “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.’’

Harris played in only two games last season because of a recurrent knee injury, yet still became the leading rusher in school history (3,735 yards).

BC requested and received a medical redshirt year for Harris, giving him one more season of eligibility. The plan had been for him to spend the winter getting his knee back into game condition, then resuming his career. He was hoping to break the Atlantic Coast Conference career rushing record and prepare for the NFL.

But when spring practice arrived, Harris was still on the sideline, saying his knee was not ready for prime-time duty. The Eagles instead prepared for the spring and presumably the summer without Harris in their plans, relying on a depth chart that included Andre Williams, Rolandan Finch, and Tajh Kimble as the main contenders.

Harris was in the background, but questions about his knee were always there. He said that should no longer be the case.

“It’s pretty close to 100 percent now,’’ said the 5-foot-10-inch, 207-pound Harris, who is also BC’s career leader in carries (786) and 100-yard games (22) and ranks third in touchdowns (27). “I know I’m ready to play again.’’

If Harris completes his academic requirements and graduates, he can play anywhere he wants in 2012 without sitting out a year if he takes graduate courses not offered by BC.

“I think I want to stay closer to home,’’ said Harris, who grew up in Jacksonville, Fla. “That would be my first choice. I know I’m going to spend the next few weeks just looking at all my options.’’

Spaziani said the decision to let Harris go was a difficult one, but he felt things had run their course.

“He’s a good kid,’’ said Spaziani. “And I wish him well. He has a lot of things going on his life right now.

“Things happen and we have to move on.’’

For the Eagles and their career rushing leader, that moment arrived Tuesday afternoon.

Mark Blaudschun can be reached at blaudschun@globe.com.

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