August 24, 2010
We here at Shutdown Corner will always love a good comeback story. The longer the odds against someone, the more heartwarming it is if they can fight their way back.
With that in mind, a comeback after being arrested with an assault rifle, three handguns, a bulletproof vest, a bottle of Grey Goose and a hatchet might set some kind of record for longest odds on a comeback. You get to a place that dark in your life, and I'm sorry, but I can't have a ton of faith in you being a productive professional athlete -- or even a productive member of society -- ever again.
[Read more: 10 other athletes who bounced back from long layoffs]
But still, Maurice Clarett's trying to find a way. He did his 3 1/2 years in the pokey, and he wants to be a professional running back again. He'd like to go the UFL route. And the UFL's Omaha Nighthawks are interested in him, too, issuing this statement as reported by Pro Football Talk:
"Maurice Clarett has paid his debt to society and through recent conversations with Maurice, his lawyer and his family, we believe he is sincerely working at turning his life around," Nighthawks G.M. Rick Mueller said. "Because we believe everyone deserves a second chance, and because Maurice wants to see whether he can still play the game he loves, we've agreed to work Maurice out as soon as the Ohio courts allow. There are no commitments other than we want to help him take positive steps towards being the good citizen and solid family man that he aspires to be."
Fantastic. But what does Clarett, 26, have left in the tank? Well, his attorney has an opinion, but keep in mind, of course, that he's a bit biased and that attorneys aren't professional football scouts.
"Since he re-enrolled in summer-quarter classes at Ohio State, he's been going to school and also working out each morning at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center," [Clarett's attorney Michael] Hoague said. "He looks really good."
Clarett needs to get permission from a judge to leave the state of Ohio and head to Omaha for a tryout. If the judge will grant it, Clarett will get the chance to battle Ahman Green(notes), Shaud Williams(notes) and D.D. Terry(notes) for the chance to take handoffs from Jeff Garcia(notes) this season.
My hope is that, professional football career or not, Clarett's life is turned around and that he can live a healthy, happy life. As for football? I wouldn't say I'm optimistic; not after the guy spent 3 1/2 years eating prison food. Then again, this is the same guy who convinced the Broncos to draft him while existing on a diet of Grey Goose, so who knows? Miracles can happen.
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