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Sports






Posted on Wed, Jan. 15, 2003 story:PUB_DESC
Harris' hard goodbye
STANFORD JUNIOR AGONIZED BEFORE DECLARING FOR DRAFT

Mercury News

Stanford junior offensive tackle Kwame Harris spoke to his family, consulted his coaches and spent sleepless nights pondering his future. Ultimately, Harris looked in his heart.

It told him to leave Stanford and enter the NFL draft.

``I love Stanford -- everything about it, from the football program to the head coach to the students . . . and faculty,'' Harris said Tuesday from a predraft training facility in Arizona. ``That's what made it so hard. I spent a lot of sleepless nights praying to God.''

Harris was so angst-ridden he called former Cardinal Coach Tyrone Willingham, who briefed him on life in the NFL. (Willingham was a Minnesota Vikings assistant before accepting the Stanford job in 1994.) In the end, the timing seemed right. At 6-foot-7 and 315 pounds, Harris is expected to be a first- or early second-round selection in a weak draft for offensive tackles.

``This is not a reflection of what happened last year,'' Harris said, referring to Stanford's 2-9 record. ``Buddy Teevens is in no way, shape or form the reason I'm leaving Stanford. . . . After 2 1/2 weeks'' of deliberation ``I just felt it was the right thing for me to do.''

Harris' departure -- combined with weak offensive line recruiting in 2000 and '01 -- leaves Stanford with three experienced linemen next season: senior Kirk Chambers, the lone returning starter, senior Mike Sullivan and sophomore Brian Head.

Everyone else is a freshman.

Offensive-line coach Steve Morton has work to do.

``While he'll have his hands full, they'll be ready,'' Harris said.

Teevens is out of town recruiting and was not available for comment.


Contact Jon Wilner at jwilner@sjmercury.com or (408) 920-5716.
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