The story of former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett has long been a cautionary tale.
Once a dynamic player, Clarett saw his chances at football glory derail in a mess of suspensions, drug use and a poor attempt at playing in the NFL. Clarett’s brief time as a great Ohio State rusher became a hiatus in a life otherwise filled with arrests and trouble.
But Clarett is not done being in the public eye — and this time, his appearance in a book about UFL coach Joe Moglia, for whom Clarett played, not only reveals just how off-track Clarett was, but also what he’s hoping to change.
“I don’t want people to say ‘Don’t be like Maurice Clarett,'” he says in the book, which is written by Forbes‘ Monte Burke, as reported by Deadspin. “In fact, I want the opposite. I want people to see me now and say they want to be like me. And I’m working every day to earn that.”
Clarett gave his comments during a mandatory team sharing time in training camp for his UFL team, the Omaha Nighthawks, where he played under Moglia, a former CEO who quit his job to coach. Each player was asked to tell his story, and Clarett’s words included his hopes that his life was changing — as well as plenty of details of where he had been.
Mixed in with an explanation of why he got into so much trouble as a young person, when he was arrested frequently as he said he tried to impress older kids in his neighborhood, was Clarett’s description of what happened after his place at the pinnacle of college football ended — a time of drugs, guns and poor decisions that eventually led to prison.
Clarett also confirmed that his Ohio State stay may have been what many people suspected — aided by boosters and devoid of accountability.
“I took golf, fishing and softball as classes,” Clarett said, according to Deadspin. “Away from class, anything you can think of I did in my 13 months at Ohio State. … I was living the NFL life in college. I got paid more in college than I do now in the UFL.”
Clarett soon ran into trouble with the school, being suspended for receiving “improper benefits.” He tried to enter the NFL Draft ahead of his eligibility year and failed to win a court case that would have allowed him to enter early. He sank into drug use and, when he did enter the combine and draft, was clearly not the player he was before. While picked by the Denver Broncos, he was such a mess that he didn’t make it out of training camp. Prison soon followed.
The happy ending to Clarett’s story is that he spent his time in prison thinking about his life and has since vowed to make wiser decisions. But, while Clarett’s path may be turning for good, the trouble may just be starting for those who were a part of Clarett’s poor choices — including Ohio State.
Thumbnail via Facebook/Maurice Clarett
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