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Healthy Morris latches on with Patriots

[ 0 ] August 2, 2014 |
Northwestern  running back Stephen Buckley (8) fends off Iowa Hawkeyes linebacker James Morris (44) at Kinnick Stadium. Byron Hetzler-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern running back Stephen Buckley (8) fends off Iowa Hawkeyes linebacker James Morris (44) at Kinnick Stadium. Byron Hetzler-USA TODAY Sports

Unlike the first time when he arrived at the New England Patriots’ training facility in May, former Iowa linebacker James Morris is now healthy and ready to play football.

Morris’ father, Greg Morris, said Saturday night that James has signed another free-agent contract with New England after the team had released him on May 20.

James Morris signed a previous contract with the Patriots, but was released just four days after signing it because of what Greg Morris described at the time as a medical issue without being specific.

Greg Morris confirmed Saturday that James was treated for a blood clot in his leg at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics after being released by New England.

“We’re extremely happy,” Greg Morris said. “James has gotten through his medical issues and he now has the opportunity that he’s been looking for.

“So that’s kind of where we’re at. I think every day you have to be at your best if you’re going to make it in the National Football League. So he knows what’s in front of him. But he’s very eager for the opportunity.”

Greg Morris, who is the Iowa football team’s long-time equipment manager, spoke highly of the care that James received.

“It was an issue that had to be resolved that surprised everybody,” Greg Morris said. “But he got through it and he had great care at the University of Iowa Hospitals, which helped him get healthy.

“Please express our sincere thanks to all the good help at UIHC because they’ve been great to him, absolutely fantastic. That place is incredible to be so close to world-renowned health care, and the caring that people have for each person that waltzes in and out that door I think to me is so amazing.”

A starter since his true freshman season, James Morris is one of just six players in school history to record at least 400 tackles during a career.

The Solon native also made second-team all-Big Ten last season and was one of three seniors to start at linebacker for Iowa last season. The other two – Christian Kirksey and Anthony Hitchens – were selected in the 2014 NFL Draft by Cleveland and Dallas in the third and fourth rounds, respectively.

Greg Morris said doctors were optimistic throughout his son’s treatment that he would play football again.

“From the start, they told James you’re going to get through this,” Greg Morris said. “It’s just going to take some time.”

James Morris also earned numerous academic awards throughout college, including making first-team academic All-America as a senior last season, and academic all-Big Ten in each of last his last three seasons.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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