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The Maurice Clarett Saga Unfolds (Merged)

Discussion in 'ESPN's 04-05 war against tOSU and Tressel' started by 3yardsandacloud, Nov 12, 2004.

  1. 3yardsandacloud

    3yardsandacloud Administrator Emeritus

    The Maurice Clarett Saga Unfolds

    ESPN article #38. Geez, I don't even know who Dan Shanoff is. How can I. I can hardly visit the ESPN site anymore. At least this guy doesn't want any part of a sympathetic angle on Maurice.



    08/10/06
    Two Words For You: MO. PROBLEMS. - ESPN FB

    Two Words For You: MO. PROBLEMS.

    By Dan Shanoff
    ESPN: The Daily Quicky

    Tom Friend can have the sympathetic angle to the latest twist to the Maurice Clarett story. I don't want it. I can't stomach it.

    Of all of the freaky details from his latest arrest …

    • Loaded gun under his legs?
    • AK-47 sitting shotgun?
    • Wearing bulletproof vest?
    • Half-empty bottle of vodka?
    • Stews in jail until trial?

    Here's the scariest:

    Clarett has a new daughter.

    He told Friend that he's head-over-heels in love with her. As a new dad, I can relate. That detail almost makes him sympathetic. Almost.

    (Maybe that's why Clarett's SUV was found with a CD of children's songs recorded by Ohio prison inmates. Whaaa?! Needless to say, you won't find that on iTunes. Let's just say they ain't the Wiggles.)

    Clarett's new fatherhood makes this latest episode even worse; it morphs it from mockable for its sensationalized details into virtual child abuse.

    If he's so in love with his new infant daughter (he gets so emotional that when he holds her he cries, he told Friend), how can he reconcile that with his latest monumental freak-out in judgment?

    You don't need an AK-47 or a bulletproof vest to be a good father.

    I'm willing to concede that perhaps Clarett felt he or his new baby were threatened by some as-yet-unproven menace (as relayed via Friend), but -- in his new, responsible role as a parent -- why not go to the cops, instead of fleeing from them?

    Nothing in Clarett's sorry existence makes sense, but imploding his life just when he's expected to shepherd a new one is the most senseless of all.
  2. 3yardsandacloud

    3yardsandacloud Administrator Emeritus

    The Maurice Clarett Saga Unfolds

    ESPN article #39. Repackaged AP story. Oh so close. Almost 30 years ago, Steve Austin (played by Lee Majors) was the world's first 6 million dollar (bionic) man. Maurice is commanding, a still impressive, 5 million dollars. "Flight Com! I can’t hold it! She’s breaking up, she’s break—"



    08/13/06
    Clarett held on $5 million bond, to re-appear Friday - ESPN FB

    Updated: Aug. 13, 2006, 8:51 PM ET
    Clarett held on $5 million bond, to re-appear Friday

    Associated Press

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Maurice Clarett reacted with quiet disbelief when he learned he'd likely spend the weekend in jail. The former Ohio State star running back may have an even harder time accepting what lies ahead.

    Wearing the same type of tan, jail-issue jumpsuit he'd sported here once before, the former Ohio State star running back closed his eyes and softly shook his head Thursday when the judge announced his bond on a gun charge: $5 million.

    His attorney, Nick Mango, said his client would not likely be able to post it, keeping Clarett in jail at least until the start of his robbery trial Monday. Clarett has been ordered to appear in court Friday afternoon in the robbery case.

    Following his bizarre and violent encounter with police early Wednesday, prosecutors had asked a judge to hold Clarett on at least $1 million bond.

    "We feel he's a threat to the community," assistant prosecutor Chris Brown said.

    Clarett stood against a wall next to his lawyer during Thursday's arraignment, didn't say anything and wasn't addressed by the judge.

    Mango would not speculate on why four loaded guns -- including an assault rifle -- were in the SUV Clarett was driving early Wednesday.

    "We're very confident that there was no intent to harm anyone," Mango said.

    Prosecutors initially asked the judge to hold Clarett without bond, in part because he had been driving just a few blocks from the home of a woman scheduled to testify against him in his robbery trial. In that case, witnesses said Clarett flashed a gun and robbed them of a cell phone behind a Columbus nightclub earlier this year.

    Franklin County Municipal Judge Andrea Peeples said she set the bond so high because the 22-year-old Clarett attempted to flee police. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Aug. 18.

    In the robbery case, Common Pleas Judge David Fais ordered Clarett to appear in court Friday, but did not tell his attorneys what issue would be addressed.

    "My sense is that the judge was going to inquire as to whether the defense intended to file a request for a psychological evaluation of our client, Mr. Clarett, which we do not intend to do," attorney Michael Hoague said.

    After Clarett's arrest on Wednesday, his lawyers expressed concern about his mental health, but Hoague said he and Mango are confident Clarett understands what is going on and will be able to assist in his defense. The attorneys don't plan to make any requests that would delay the start of the trial Monday, Hoague said.

    Clarett's latest run-in with the law began when police noticed a vehicle driving erratically, beginning a highway chase that ended with police spiking the SUV's tires. Officers said they could not easily subdue Clarett because he was wearing a bulletproof vest that thwarted their stun guns.

    After several police using pepper spray finally got him into handcuffs, the 6-foot, 245-pounder continued to struggle, kicking at the doors of the transport vehicle. Officers also secured a cloth mask over Clarett's mouth after they say he spat at them.

    Police said more charges are possible, and federal agents said they are eyeing whether Clarett violated federal gun laws that prohibit having a firearm while under indictment.

    "I feel bad for him. I think a lot of people do," said rookie linebacker A.J. Hawk of the Green Bay Packers, who arrived at Ohio State as a freshman with Clarett. "You've got to surround yourself with decent people, and I think in his case maybe he didn't do that, or took some bad advice or whatever. I don't know. Things aren't going right. Maybe this will be a wake-up call."

    Clarett was in a positive mood when he spent Tuesday night in suburban Columbus with his attorneys, preparing for next week's trial, said Jon Saia, a senior partner with the law firm representing Clarett.

    He made a series of cell phone calls into the night and early Wednesday morning, including one to Jim Terry, coach of Mahoning Valley Hitmen of the Eastern Indoor Football League where Clarett has plans to play in January.

    Terry said Clarett, whose girlfriend recently gave birth to his premature daughter, sounded depressed on the phone, but that wasn't unusual.

    "Maurice mumbles, so he sounds depressed all the time," Terry said. "We just talked about the baby, we talked about the trial and then the phone cut out."

    Clarett did not call back, Terry said. Police said they attempted to stop Clarett a short time later.

    As a freshman, Clarett scored the winning touchdown in the second overtime of the Fiesta Bowl against Miami to lead Ohio State to the 2002 national championship. It was the last game he played for the Buckeyes.

    He was suspended for the following season after being charged with falsely reporting a theft to police. After dropping out of school, he challenged the NFL's draft eligibility rule in 2004 but lost.

    The Broncos made him a surprise third-round pick the following year, but he was cut during the preseason.
  3. 3yardsandacloud

    3yardsandacloud Administrator Emeritus

    The Maurice Clarett Saga Unfolds

    ESPN article #40. Repackaged AP story. Former OSU stars weigh in on Maurice Clarett.



    08/10/06
    Hawk reflects on college teammate's troubles - ESPN FB

    Updated: Aug. 10, 2006, 7:47 PM ET
    Hawk reflects on college teammate's troubles

    Associated Press
    National Football League News Wire

    GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A.J. Hawk and Maurice Clarett were two freshmen brimming with talent when they arrived at Ohio State in 2002. A few months later, they were national champions.

    Today, Hawk is on his way to becoming the next big star for the Green Bay Packers.

    Clarett is in jail.

    After hearing reports of a police chase, loaded guns and pepper spray, Hawk can only shake his head at the way a former teammate squandered his talent.

    After watching Clarett dominate college football for the Buckeyes, could Hawk ever have imagined that things would turn out like this?

    "No," Hawk said. "Anyone that had been there his freshman year in that stadium, I mean, he was everything. To everybody. From game one. People chanted his name the whole time, and he had a great year."

    Clarett was the toast of college football after scoring a touchdown in the second overtime of the Fiesta Bowl against Miami to clinch the 2002 national championship for Ohio State.

    Since then, his life has become a mess.

    "He was a great running back -- great vision, size, speed, everything," Hawk said. "It's unfortunate when something like that happens to someone, that many instances that he had off the field that caused all these problems for him."

    Clarett was arrested early Wednesday morning after police tried to pull him over for driving erratically.

    Police say they eventually stopped Clarett's SUV by spiking his tires, then tried to subdue him with a stun gun -- but it didn't work because he was wearing a bulletproof vest, so they used pepper spray. He allegedly had four loaded guns in the SUV.

    Clarett was charged with carrying a concealed weapon on Thursday, and bond was set at $5 million.

    It was the latest in a series of off-the-field issues for the former star.

    Clarett was suspended for the 2003 season after being charged with falsifying a police report. He left Ohio State, then sued unsuccessfully to become eligible for 2004 NFL draft.

    The Denver Broncos drafted him in the third round in 2005, then cut him during the preseason.

    Earlier this year, Clarett was charged with robbery and carrying a concealed weapon after police said he flashed a gun and robbed two people of a cell phone behind a Columbus lounge on New Year's morning.

    "It's tough seeing that because it seems like something that keeps repeating," Hawk said. "It's not like it's gotten better."

    Hawk said he didn't know Clarett particularly well off the field, but didn't see anything out of the ordinary.

    "He got along with the guys and was a good teammate at the time," said Hawk, who hasn't spoken to Clarett in several years.

    Hawk wonders if Clarett was getting bad advice.

    "I feel bad for him. I think a lot of people do," Hawk said. "You've got to surround yourself with decent people, and I think in his case maybe he didn't do that, or took some bad advice or whatever. I don't know. Things aren't going right. Maybe this will be a wakeup call."

    Packers defensive lineman Kenny Peterson was a senior at Ohio State when Clarett was a freshman, and hopes to get a chance to speak to his former teammate.

    "You know what? It's easy to love somebody when everything's going good. When it's sunny days, winning. It's easy to love somebody then," Peterson said. "But when they need the most love is when they're down and out. Everyone's trying to shun him now. If I had direct contact with him, I would. He needs somebody to help him. Obviously, there's more than a little bit going on, more than we know."

    Peterson said from an outsider's perspective, it appears that Clarett is on a downward spiral that he can't control.

    "More people need to reach out and find out what's going on," Peterson said. "Don't give up on him. We need to get to the source of why he's acting like this, what's going on in his heart and his head. If you look at it as an outsider, yeah, you think, 'This dude has just lost it. He's gone crazy.' I wish I could talk to Maurice. I wish."

    This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire.
  4. 3yardsandacloud

    3yardsandacloud Administrator Emeritus

    The Maurice Clarett Saga Unfolds

    ESPN article #41. Scoop Jackson weighs in on Maurice.



    08/11/06
    BLESSING IN DISGUISE: Football was all Clarett had - ESPN Page 2 FB

    Updated: Aug. 11, 2006
    BLESSING IN DISGUISE: Football was all Clarett had

    By Scoop Jackson
    ESPN Page 2

    How do you recognize a blessing in disguise?

    Does it happen when you are at the Ohio State University, scoring the winning touchdown in the national championship game your freshman year? Or does it occur when they ended your college career, when Jim Brown shows up in your life to play counselor and adviser in your fight to get into the NFL two years before you are allowed to? Or does it occur when a groin pull pulls you out of contention for a roster spot on an NFL team and, for the first time in your life, you've been cut from a game you'd decided was going to be your life?

    Or does it occur at 3 a.m. on I-70 in Columbus, Ohio, after an illegal U-turn turned into a chase, after the police spike and blow out your tires, after you resist being arrested, after they find three loaded handguns, one loaded AK-47 and a half-empty bottle of Grey Goose in the front seat and you in a bulletproof vest?

    When your life goes from the sky to the sewer in four years, how can you tell where the blessing is?

    What if in your life, with all of the accolades, promise and acclaim, the best thing that ever happened to you was when those cops pepper-sprayed you and cuffed you and ducked your head into the backseat of their squad car? What if it was all finally over? What if the last thing that happened to you saved your life?

    "I don't know what happened to him, what got into him. I just know that's not the Maurice Clarett that I knew. And I know the fans know that's not the Maurice Clarett that played football at Ohio State." Current Steelers WR (and former OSU WR) Santonio Holmes, to ESPN.com's Gene Wojciechowski

    The Maurice Clarett who showed up in the Franklin County police station the other night was not the Maurice Clarett who captivated the nation four years ago in the Fiesta Bowl with the promise to make us never know who Reggie Bush was. That Maurice Clarett disappeared the minute he scored his last touchdown, the minute OSU turned its back on him, saying he acted alone in receiving benefits from the university to help the Buckeyes win their first undisputed national title since 1968.

    That Maurice Clarett was never to be seen again.

    Instead, the world was introduced to an athlete who had nothing to hold on to, nothing to grasp, nothing to love. An athlete who was living a lie because the game he possibly was born to play was slowly being taken from him. But he didn't know it. Not then. Not as a teenager.

    Because the Maurice Clarett who just had his bond raised from $200,000 to $1.1 million to $5 million in two days thought football was going to save him. Thought it would stop him from being the person that lived inside of him. But once the game was removed from his life, once he realized the NFL would exist without him, the truth of his life was exposed to him. To the point where he couldn't even help it, or himself.

    Which is why (and how) a young man goes from being a third-round draft pick in April 2005 to getting charged with robbing people for cell phones in alleys at gunpoint in January 2006.

    "He's a thug," Hubbard HS (Chicago) defensive coach Andre Curry said. "I hate to say that, but it's true. He used football to get away from a troubled childhood. Now that football is out of his life, the true Maurice Clarett comes out."

    As cold as that sounds, it's fair. Acutely accurate. But it doesn't explain the how and the why, the reason.

    Or why the last time he played a meaningful game of football was three years ago. Why the sport that was supposed to keep his mind away from the devil's playground, clear of the elements fighting inside him, now lives only in his heart and no longer in the rest of his body or mind.

    Because in Maurice Clarett's situation there is a difference between an excuse and the reason.

    Saying that he was done wrong by Ohio State University or the NCAA, or not given a fair chance by the Denver Broncos or the NFL is an excuse. One used too often when dealing with superiorly talented souls who waste away opportunities less-talented and hungrier souls would die to have.

    But there is a reason. There always is. And in the saga that has become the first 22 years of Maurice Clarett's life, what we are witnessing is only the surface. The reality is much deeper. Something that might not explain everything, but something that no longer should be ignored or dismissed.

    Something that takes this into consideration: He grew up with two brothers and 11 cousins in his grandmother's house in Youngstown, Ohio. His grandmother's house. Not Mom's, not Dad's. Thirteen kids under one roof, survival of the illest, with an older woman trying to hold it all together. According to ESPN reports, he ate "pork and beans for dinner, a couple of folded slices of bologna (no bread) for lunch." By the time he enrolled at Ohio State, he had attended the funerals of 10 of his friends, witnessed two people shot and killed in front of his grandmother's home, and served three stints in a local juvenile detention center.

    Nine times out of 10 (12 out of 13, to be exact) he was the one the family was banking on to save them. Their lives existed in anticipation of his future.

    In wait of football.

    But then …

    "What happened [to Clarett] is indicative about everything that's bad about being a star in sports at an early age," says Chicago Sun-Times national columnist Rick Telander. "The nonsensical, quasi-suicidal behavior of someone with no guidance, no true foundation. It's almost symbolic of the game of football itself."

    Causing Jon Saraceno of USA Today to write: "If Clarett could fall any further, any faster, he would be Marcus Dupree. Or maybe Mike Tyson."

    And this was before Clarett's latest arrest.

    At no point in anything he did was his family mentioned. In all of the drama that became his life leading up to this latest incident, the only people who seemed to have any role in Clarett's life were attorneys. His life, for all intents and purposes, might have been worse than Tyson's. At least Mike had Cus D'Amato. Whom did Maurice have?

    "I think he's mad at the world because he feels his sport has turned on him," former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Mickey Pruitt said over the phone about Clarett. "Being cut from Denver, banished by the university and no family, he had nowhere to turn, no outlet. Football was all he had. Once he lost football …"

    Once Maurice Clarett lost football, his life unraveled much like Kirby Puckett's life did when he lost baseball. Clarett became the third act of the football tragedy, "Fall From Grace," starring Alonzo Spellman and Ricky Williams. The gifts could not control the curse inside them.

    The difference? Spellman was grown. Williams was grown. Puckett was grown. All had professional careers, all had a chance, a taste of it.

    Clarett was 18. A child in the scheme of things. One who never played in the pros. One who never tasted his dream.

    And still we wonder why he snapped four years later. And still we act as if this childhood and the last four years void of football had nothing to do with why we're all doing stories on him that have nothing to do with the only thing he really knew how to do in life: Play football.

    And still we judge.

    As he said of himself: "You don't know what I've been through, so you can't judge me. Until I know what you've been through, until I know the reason for doing what you're doing, you can't judge me."

    And still we act as though we're surprised that the first part of Maurice Clarett's life came to an end the way it did.

    There was a time when Clarett and LeBron James were close.

    Friends. Partners. Sharers of the light.

    Both were football gods in Ohio. Ranked No. 1 and No. 2 as the best players in the state. Maurice had a year on LeBron. Senior to his junior. Clarett was the leader. Finished high school early. Good kid. Smart kid. The original Chosen One.

    Even though LeBron's father was incarcerated, he still had his Moms (Gloria) and a support system of trusted family and friends that had (for the most part) his better interest at heart. Something LeBron had since birth … something Maurice wasn't born with.

    So when the limelight hit both, they went in totally different directions. Not right and left -- right and wrong.

    What does that say about Maurice Clarett's life? What if that wrong direction is Maurice Clarett's fate?

    Seriously. Honestly.

    What if the fact that the police caught Clarett when they did turns out to be the best thing that ever happened to him in his life? Seeing the direction his life was going? The direction his SUV was headed?

    What if all of this is his blessing?

    "This arrest may save his life," XM radio's "House of Sports" host Terry Tuff said. "It's time for Maurice Clarett to stop dreaming about being a professional football player and start trying to become a professional human being. This situation, God might be working with him."

    "He wasn't going to the cash station, that's for sure," continued Pruitt, who is now running the football program for the Chicago public schools. "This arrest saved him. The way he was dressed, the time of night, what he had in the car, he was a man on rage. If they hadn't gotten to him when they did, there's no telling how his night would have ended."

    Four loaded guns, bulletproof vest, half-empty bottle of vodka, life-cleansing phone calls to a friend (LeBron), a writer (Tom Friend), his agent (Nick Mango), his former coach at OSU (Jim Tressel) and the owner of a team he had signed to play for in the Eastern Indoor Football League (Jim Terry), a holster in a backpack, a CD of children's songs sung by prison inmates, while only blocks away from the home of a woman who was slated to testify against (and identify) him in a pending case in which he was awaiting trial on two counts of aggravated battery, four counts of robbery and one count of carrying a concealed weapon.

    All signs directed toward the end of something. His life or someone else's.

    Something only a blessing can block.

    Because at the rate Clarett's life was spiraling out of control, death was not far away. Not far from next. And he was not far from becoming a more highly celebrated version of Rae Carrruth. Or worse, the next O.J.

    But if you are Maurice Clarett, how do you comprehend that this latest incident in your life might be the best thing that has ever happened in your life? How do you swallow that this happened to you so something worse wouldn't? How do you digest that the bullet you just dodged was not one that came from one of your guns or one that was actually fired?

    How do you see that this is all a blessing in disguise when all you could visualize was your life in the NFL? When football was supposed to be your freedom? As a kid, all you dreamed about was touchdowns, 100-yard games and NFL paydays, and as you got older, those dreams came close to reality because stardom found you -- fast. Then it was gone.

    Two years before Clarett entered the halls of Ohio State University -- where some say his life began and others argue that it really ended -- Harry Edwards, in an interview with ColorLines magazine, discussed what eventually could be Clarett's eulogy.

    "The overwhelming majority of black athletes come out of the lower echelons of black society," the professor said. "I don't think it is accidental when you look at the inordinate number of blacks in jail and the proportionate number of blacks on athletic teams. You are essentially looking at the same guy. They both have numbers; they are both in uniforms, and they both belong to gangs. They only call one the Crips, or the Bloods, while they call the other team the 49ers, Warriors, A's, or the Giants. They are all in pursuit of respect. They all, at one level or another, keep score. The parallels are all there. It is the same guy."

    A 6-foot, 230-pound running back who once wore the number 13 and rushed for 1,237 yards in a one-year career at football's second highest level, scoring 18 touchdowns and never losing a game, finds his way to the criminal justice system. To become a part of it. For possibly the next 10-15 years. Minimum time, maximum security.

    How did a sociologist predict you? Society predict that the world would see you? Predict the person you would become?

    How on this day, while you sit inside a jail cell, can you convince yourself that football, the game you believed you were brought on this earth to play, didn't save your life … it was the reason it almost ended?

    How do you accept that as your blessing?

    If you are Maurice Clarett, how do you finally tell football goodbye?

    Scoop Jackson is a national columnist for Page 2 and a contributor to ESPN The Magazine. He has a weekly segment on "Cold Pizza" and is a regular forum guest on "Rome Is Burning." He resides in Chicago.
  5. 3yardsandacloud

    3yardsandacloud Administrator Emeritus

    The Maurice Clarett Saga Unfolds

    ESPN article #42. Skip Bayless weighs in on Maurice.



    08/11/06
    A LITTLE SYMPATHY: Clarett belonged in the NFL - ESPN Page 2 FB

    Updated: Aug. 11, 2006
    A LITTLE SYMPATHY: Clarett belonged in the NFL

    By Skip Bayless
    ESPN Page 2

    You're rolling your eyes, shaking your head, wondering how in the world this guy could have fallen this far this fast.

    He was wearing a bulletproof vest? You're kidding. Four guns and a bottle of vodka in his SUV? No way. He was within a mile of the home of a woman scheduled to testify against him for armed robbery? Creepy.

    He even had made what sounded like last calls to people he admired? Really creepy.

    You're wondering how Maurice Clarett could have gone from being so good as an Ohio State running back to being so bad off. You're wondering how he could have been so … incredibly … stupid. But now that you've seen the video of all his loaded guns, you have no more sympathy for what's looking like nothing more than an uncommon criminal.

    But maybe you should have a little.

    Maybe Clarett was a victim of a shockingly unfair and un-American NFL system that somehow keeps players from entering its draft until they've been out of high school for three years.

    Maybe, if Clarett could have gone straight from carrying Ohio State to a national championship as a freshman into an NFL backfield the next year, none of this would have happened. At least, maybe he wouldn't be facing up to 26 years in prison. Maybe he wouldn't stand accused of armed robbery in an alley behind the Opium Lounge. Maybe the cops wouldn't have had to chase down his SUV the other night by blowing out its tires with road spikes, then have to forcibly subdue him after his Kevlar repelled their stun guns.

    Maybe -- no, surely -- he wouldn't be behind bars if he had been allowed to play pro football after one year of college.

    After all, his Ohio homeboy LeBron James was able to enter the NBA draft right out of high school. Baseball drafts high school kids. So does hockey.

    But the NFL still gets away with protecting its free feeder system, college football, the big-stage proving ground that saves the NFL from risking millions and millions more than it already does on draft choices. Imagine NFL teams having to make high-dollar decisions on the country's best high school running backs and quarterbacks. Imagine them having to project the greatness of physically and emotionally immature 18-year-olds at every position.

    Ain't that America.

    Of course, the age-old, stick-in-the-mud argument is that kids aren't ready for the NFL or NBA at 19 and that most baseball draftees at least spend four or five years growing up in the minor leagues before hitting the bigs.

    Save these kids from themselves, you say. Make 'em go to college and get an education the way you did!

    Give me a break, Gramps. And give Clarett one.

    Some 18-year-olds are good enough to play pro football. Some have no interest or business in college. Some wouldn't get into or stay in college if it weren't for schools needing gifted football players to win bragging rights for major donors.

    Some like Clarett.

    You say he wasn't ready for the NFL after his freshman year. You say he couldn't even stay healthy playing college football. You say that he was born a bad apple and that he would have turned just as rotten as a rich-and-famous NFL star as he appears to have now.

    I say you're wrong.

    Clarett was a big, strong, fast 19-year-old who punished Big Ten upperclassmen and scored two touchdowns -- including the game winner from 5 yards out -- in Ohio State's 31-24 Fiesta Bowl upset of 17-point favorite Miami. Running backs who can dominate that level of college talent are the best bets of any position to make it in pro football. Great running backs aren't taught, they're born.

    Clarett had all the makings of a great running back. Soon after that Fiesta Bowl, I asked Jim Brown, who was advising Clarett, how good Clarett could be in the NFL. And Brown chuckled that deep chuckle of his and said, "How good was I?"

    That's how good.

    Predictably, Clarett ran into problems at Ohio State. Yes, he has some thug in him, some "street." Yes, with LeBron able to command millions from Nike before he had graduated high school, Clarett wanted a little compensation for making all those millions for Ohio State. Maybe he got a little. Maybe he deserved a lot more.

    But once reports of this compensation began to leak into the media, Ohio State predictably wanted nothing more to do with Clarett. It had its national championship. It did not want NCAA probation.

    So Brown and several other people far smarter than Clarett encouraged him to challenge the NFL draft rules in court. He did. He won.

    District judge Shira Sheindlein basically laughed the NFL's lawyers out of her courtroom. She basically said the NFL was denying Clarett his basic American right -- the opportunity to earn a living, to succeed or fail in pro football after no more than one year of college.

    Clarett briefly was hailed as a crusader, a pioneer, college football's Curt Flood.

    But of course, the big, bad NFL took its case to appeals court and won. And eventually, the Supreme Court upheld that decision. The NFL didn't have a better argument than Clarett did, but it had better lawyers and more influence. He would have to sit out two full years before he could enter the draft.

    Two … long … years.

    And of course, a kid without much of a work ethic got fat, lost his football edge and his way, was lucky to be drafted in the third round by Denver's Mike Shanahan, then failed quickly for all the world to ridicule.

    This was like tossing a lighted match on his alcohol-soaked demons. Down, down Clarett spiraled toward Tuesday night.

    If he had been able to go straight into pro football, and he had landed with the right coach and system, Maurice Clarett would have turned out to be one of the NFL's barely controllable, very successful thugs. Maybe he would have had a few brushes with the law -- a DUI here, a nightclub fight there.

    But nothing like this.

    Maurice Clarett belonged in pro football three years ago.

    But now, you're right, he belongs in jail.

    Skip Bayless can be seen Monday through Friday on "Cold Pizza," ESPN2's morning show, and at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN's "1st & 10." His column appears twice a week on Page 2.
  6. 3yardsandacloud

    3yardsandacloud Administrator Emeritus

    The Maurice Clarett Saga Unfolds

    ESPN article #43. Repackaged AP story.



    08/12/06
    Judge orders mental health evaluation for Clarett - ESPN FB

    Updated: Aug. 12, 2006, 2:45 AM ET
    Judge orders mental health evaluation for Clarett

    Associated Press
    College Football News Wire

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Maurice Clarett was ordered to have a mental health evaluation following a bizarre and violent encounter with police in which the former Ohio State football star was caught with four guns after a highway chase.

    The judge delayed a trial set to begin Monday on previous charges in which the player is accused of holding up two people outside a bar on New Year's Day.

    Judge David Fais ordered the evaluation against the wishes of Clarett and his attorneys, citing the events surrounding the arrest early Wednesday.

    "I clearly understand everything and I don't know why we have to drag this thing out," said Clarett, who scoffed, smiled and rolled his head back when Fais announced his ruling.

    Clarett, who wrote a few notes to his attorney while his hands were cuffed, said he was ready to go to trial. His girlfriend, who gave birth to the couple's daughter last month, and his mother sat in the courtroom. They declined comment outside.

    A delay gives Clarett time to recover from a swollen face and bruised eye from his struggle with several officers.

    Fais said he was concerned by Clarett's attorneys saying in published reports that they were worried about his mental health.

    "It's my job. I have to ensure that your rights are protected," Fais said.

    Prosecutors supported the decision for the evaluation. Defense attorneys twice objected, saying they were confident Clarett was competent to stand trial.

    "We do not wish to see these proceedings continue at all," attorney Michael Hoague told the judge.

    The evaluation could have been done over the weekend to avoid delaying the trial, Hoague said afterward.

    "Instead of having the possibility of being acquitted this time next week, he'll be in jail," he said.

    Fais also revoked Clarett's $1.1 million bond on the charges, meaning that Clarett figures to remain in jail until the new trial date of Sept. 18.

    Clarett's latest run-in with the law began when police noticed a vehicle driving erratically, prompting a chase that ended with police spiking the SUV's tires. Officers said they could not easily subdue Clarett because he was wearing a bulletproof vest that thwarted their stun guns.

    After several police using pepper spray finally got him into handcuffs, the 6-foot, 245-pound Clarett continued to struggle, kicking at the doors of the transport vehicle. Officers also put a cloth mask over Clarett's mouth after they say he spat at them.

    Clarett was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and a traffic violation, and police said more charges are possible. Bond on those charges was set at $5 million, which Clarett's attorneys said he most likely would not be able to pay.

    He was driving a few blocks from the home of a woman scheduled to testify against him in his robbery trial. In that case, witnesses said Clarett flashed a gun and robbed them of a cell phone behind a Columbus nightclub.

    Fais said he thought allowing time to pass between the highway chase and Clarett's trial on the robbery charges would be beneficial. The delay also will give the court more time to draw the larger jury pool that will be necessary to find impartial people because of the publicity surrounding the case, he said.

    As a freshman, Clarett scored the winning touchdown in the second overtime of the Fiesta Bowl against Miami to lead Ohio State to the 2002 national championship. It was the last game he played for the Buckeyes.

    He was suspended for the following season after being charged with falsely reporting a theft to police. After dropping out of school, he unsuccessfully challenged the NFL's draft eligibility rule.

    The Broncos made him a surprise third-round pick the following year, but he was cut during the preseason.

    This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire.
  7. 3yardsandacloud

    3yardsandacloud Administrator Emeritus

    Maurice Clarett Saga Unfolds

    ESPN article #44. Repackaged AP story.



    08/13/06
    Lawyer defends Clarett, says he did not resist arrest - ESPN FB

    Updated: Aug. 13, 2006, 8:56 PM ET
    Lawyer defends Clarett, says he did not resist arrest

    Associated Press
    College Football News Wire

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Former Ohio State football star Maurice Clarett was sprayed with pepper spray and struck after he surrendered following an early morning chase last week, his lawyer said Sunday.

    "It is our contention that both of those things occurred after he was in handcuffs," said attorney Michael Hoague, who added that his client obeyed police commands.

    Hoague is representing Clarett in an unrelated robbery trial that was to start Monday but postponed until September when a judge ordered a psychiatric evaluation after Clarett's latest arrest.

    Officers said Clarett was driving erratically when they tried to pull him over Wednesday. He refused to get out of the sport utility vehicle he was driving, prompting several officers to remove him by force, police said.

    Clarett was wearing a bulletproof vest that rendered stun guns ineffective. It took several officers to handcuff him, and he kicked at the doors of a van he was placed in and spit at officers, prompting them to put a mask over his mouth, police said.

    Hoague claimed Clarett was compliant throughout.

    During the pursuit, Clarett called his mother and fiancee to tell them he loved them. He asked his mother to call his lawyer, Hoague said.

    "A person who calls his loved ones to say, 'I'm about to go to jail,' does not have the mind-set to put up a fight," Hoague said, adding that Clarett laid on the ground when he surrendered.

    Messages seeking comment from Columbus police detectives and public information officers weren't immediately returned Sunday.

    Hoague also said a blow to the face bloodied Clarett's lip and that he was trying to clear his mouth of blood and pepper spray, not spit at police.

    Clarett was charged with carrying a concealed weapon after officers found three semiautomatic handguns and an assault rifle, all loaded, in the SUV.

    He was heading to a hotel room with items he had collected from his fiancee's mother's house when he was pulled over, Hoague said.

    "He had everything from his clothes to his high school diploma in the car" as he tried to get his affairs in order for the upcoming trial, Hoague said.

    Clarett's arrest prompted a Franklin County Common Pleas Judge David Fais to raise his bond to $1.1 million in the robbery case, in which he is accused of holding up two people outside a downtown bar on New Year's Day. Bond for the concealed weapons charge was set at $5 million, which Clarett's attorneys said he most likely wouldn't be able to pay.

    As a freshman, Clarett scored the winning touchdown in the second overtime of the Fiesta Bowl against Miami to lead Ohio State to the 2002 national championship, but was suspended for the following season after being charged with falsely reporting a theft to police.

    After dropping out of school, Clarett unsuccessfully challenged the NFL's draft eligibility rule. The Denver Broncos made him a surprise third-round pick the following year but cut him during preseason.

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