Uh-Oh – Oregon QB Darron Thomas Might Be Out For Opening Tilt With LSU

This will be a major subject of conversation tomorrow.

Apparently Thomas, who next to tailback LaMichael James is Oregon’s best player, was in the car with Cliff Harris, a cornerback and another All-American who’s already been suspended for getting arrested while driving at a leisurely 118 MPH on the highway from Portland back to Eugene. The dashboard camera video came out today…

(Link if the embed doesn’t come through)

KATU-TV in Portland has a recap

With traffic whizzing by, Stallsworth then begins a series of questions to the driver, who eventually identifies himself as Harris. “What’s the reason for the speed this morning?” he asks first.

Harris responds he is trying to get home to Eugene. Stallsworth then asks for Harris’ license and if there are any weapons in the car. Harris responds that he does not have a license and there are no weapons in the car.

Stallsworth asks if the passengers are going to school in Eugene. Harris responds “yes, sir.”

Stallsworth then asks “Who’s got the marijuana in the car?” Harris responds “we smoked it all.” Stallsworth responds “I don’t know if I believe that.”  Harris reiterates that there are no drugs in the car.

Stallsworth then asks for Harris’ license and Harris says he has no ID on him. Stallsworth then gets on his radio and talks with dispatch.

He then asks if anyone in the car has ID. Someone offers their school identification. At that point, a Sheriff’s deputy arrives on the scene to assist and the two lawmen talk for a moment before Stallsworth begins talking again with Harris.

When Stallsworth asks to see the vehicle’s registration and insurance, Harris says the car belongs to his girlfriend, then later says it’s a rental car, then clarifies that the car was rented by his girlfriend and she let him use it.

Finally, Stallsworth asks the driver who he is and what his date of birth is. “Cliff Harris,” the driver answers. “Cliff Harris, the football player?” Stallsworth asks. “Yes, sir,” Harris responds. Stallsworth again asks Harris why he was speeding and Harris says he was trying to get to Eugene.

“You guys all play football?” Stallsworth asks everyone in the car. A chorus of “yes” is heard on the tape.

Stallsworth then turns his attention to the passengers in the car, asking one man his name. “Darron” is the response but a car goes by so the trooper asks again. “Darron Thomas” is the response, perhaps from Cliff Harris.

“You’re Darron Thomas?” Stallsworth asks. “Yep,” Thomas replies. “Yes you are,” Stallsworth responds.

“Why you guys smoking dope and driving down the road at 118 miles an hour?” Stallsworth then asks.

“We’re just trying to get home,” is the reply, although it’s not clear who says it.

“How do you think [Coach] Kelly would like it if I called him?” Stallsworth asks. Someone in the car says “everybody in the car is not smoking dope.”

“How do you think he’d like it if I called and told him you guys are doing 118 miles an hour down the freeway – the star football players on the team?” Stallsworth asks again.

“No sir, he wouldn’t appreciate it,” is the response, but it’s not clear from whom. Stallsworth then asks how he thinks other drivers might feel being put at risk by the high-speed driving.

“Who’s been smoking dope?” Stallsworth asks without waiting for an answer to the previous question. The response, although it’s not clear from whom, blames the passengers in the back seat for smoking pot.

It goes on.

Thomas’ involvement in the incident wasn’t disclosed in the initial reporting of Harris’ suspension. So this is new scoop.

But Oregon coach Chip Kelly said after the video was released today that there’s no new information contained in it. Kelly is, er, not known for being real strict with his players.

“It always concerns me when there’s anything like that around our players,” he added, “but I know Cliff was not charged with anything. I would prefer my players weren’t anywhere. I would prefer my players were in bed at midnight.”

The video also reveals that quarterback Darron Thomas was a passenger in the car. Thomas was also a passenger in the car with Jeremiah Masoli when Springfield police found marijuana in a car Masoli was driving. The citation eneded Masoli’s career at Oregon.

And in 2008, Thomas was a passenger in a speeding car driven by another Duck that crashed in the Gateway area of Springfield.

“I’m not punishing someone for being a passenger,” Kelly said in response to a reporter’s question about whether Thomas had been disciplined for any of the incidents.

“I know exactly where Darron was” in June, when Harris was cited, Kelly said. “He needed a ride back from Portland because he was going to ESPN that day. I know exactly what the situation was. I’m not concerned Darron Thomas whatsoever.

“It won’t make me reassess anything,” Kelly added. “This situation was known to us. I’ve known all the information you found out today.”

Which would indicate that there isn’t much else to this, other than if Darron Thomas is asking you for a ride you’re a menace to society right then and there…

Except that Las Vegas has taken the LSU-Oregon game off the board.

All this is worth watching. There certainly seems to be a lot of smoke (see what I did there?) around Thomas. He’s a guy LSU recruited, if you didn’t know, out of high school in Houston. In fact, he was committed to LSU at one point, but he backed out of it because Les Miles said he was a good athlete and he freaked out thinking that meant Miles wouldn’t let him play quarterback.

Weed makes people paranoid. I heard that once. I’ve never heard riding shotgun makes you paranoid, but if you ride with enough bad drivers it’s a reasonable possibility. Anyway, Thomas would probably have been starting ahead of Jordan Jefferson the last two years had he come to LSU, and he might have even had his own car. But that’s speculation.

Oregon doesn’t have another quarterback on the roster who’s done anything in a game. Their backup quarterback is a redshirt freshman. Thomas goes down and they’ll be in Vegas heaping money on LSU at 118 miles an hour.

But we don’t know anything yet. We just know enough to be dangerous and to run our mouths about stuff.

UPDATE: Oh, this gets so much better. What were all these stoned dudes doing in Portland? Maybe this is what. This just broke on the nutria grapevine (otherwise known as an e-mail I got from my cousin T-Beb, who swears he’s not a bookie but always seems to be able to tell you what the line is no matter what game you’re talkin’ about)…

So the story as I heard it…a buddy of mine has a medical marijuana card. My friend, a big football fan, was here in Portland hanging out at a marijuana dispensary and chatting up the guy that worked behind the counter about football. This is probably early February? Evidently the guy behind the counter installs grow light operations for people who have medical marijuana cards. So he got a call one day to install some new grow lights in some other guy’s basement. He goes to the guys house and there’s TONS of Oregon memorabilia. Signed jerseys, helmets, shoes, gloves, you name it. Tons of stuff from what I heard – like a museum. And going back just a few years – like Dennis Dixon era on, but nothing older than that. The grow light installer asks how this guy got all this stuff – and without directly stating anything, the other guy indicated he traded marijuana for it. This morning I heard from a 2nd source that is basically the same story as what I had heard originally. I deliberately haven’t told anybody about this, so I know I didn’t hear it from somebody who heard it from me. I doubt my friend has really told anybody. He told me because he knows I’m an OS fan but he said he hadn’t really spread it around, so I don’t think it’s coming from the same source. There’s a possibility though that it’s from the same source.

Now, I heard that this story happened in Portland (making Cliff Harris’ recent midnight run pretty interesting to me). Today the other source told me that the house was in Eugene – in fact the same house that Kiko Alonso broke into back in April/May.

In addition, I found this.

This person, with a Eugene address, seems to have quite a bit of Ducks memorabilia for sale. Now, i know…you can buy SOME of this kind of stuff at the annual Oregon ‘garage sale’, but never game worn jerseys or helmets. Never autographed items.

Look, this is rumor mill stuff, all right? But for the longest time nobody could really figure out why all these kids from Florida and Houston and L.A. and other pretty cool places in warm climates would want to go to rainy-ass, cold and honkified Oregon.

But if you can trade a game jersey for some weed over in Portland, it all makes a ton of sense.

College kids really like weed. College athletes REALLY like weed. It’s just the way things are. And free weed? Shooo.

Remember how last year right before LSU had the opener with North Carolina the other team had their whole starting lineup go like dominoes before the season? It kinda looks like it might be happening again. And if the university gets involved – remember, Oregon is already in the douce over this business of paying that guy Will Lyles $25,000 for basically nothing (what they really got was Lyles pushing this Lache Seastrunk kid to Oregon), which is another scandal – yikes. And that means Kelly’s pucker factor might be about a 9.8 right now.

Maybe Kelly needs some weed for his nerves. He’s got a lot of memorabilia; he might ought to take some down to Portland and see what he can get for it.

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