"I can’t hold these feelings in anymore. I want to play football again. I have a deep desire to play. I love the game."—Maurice Clarett
The star who dazzled fans and lead the 2002 Buckeyes to the BCS Championship wants to win another one.
The man who was suspended by Ohio State University for filing a false police report wants to regain his athletic credibility.
The rebel who lost his battle with the NFL to declare for the draft a year early wants to rejoin the league.
The sloth who ran a 4.82 40-yard dash at the 2005 NFL combine wants to speed past tacklers.
The criminal who was arrested twice and sent to jail for armed robbery wants to strap on the helmet and lower his shoulder into the end zone.
I couldn't believe it when I read it.
Maurice Clarett, that guy rotting in jail, playing football?
I guess I subconsciously dragged my mental Maurice Clarett icon into the "Jailed athlete; never think of again" folder, but apparently Clarett is eligible for early release in 2010.
But is he serious?
Does he really think any organization (NFL or not) would take a chance on a guy who hasn't played in an organized football game in seven years?
But, as Maurice says, "In the penitentiary, you could say basketball is football. Back here, everything is aggressive. Everything is intense."
So I guess a few ill-intentioned elbows during a pick-up basketball game in "the joint" qualifies you to play professional football?
But, hey, not so fast. Let's at least hear the guy out.
Maurice claims to have turned his life around.
And if you read his blog, it appears that he may have a point.
He has a steady girlfriend who he plans to marry.
He has a young daughter that he can't "imagine not being in her life everyday."
He is currently enrolled in a distance-learning program at Ohio University (he even got an "A" on his first philosophy assignment).
On top of that, he's not sugar-coating anything.
"Anyone who glorifies prison is an idiot. Anyone who thinks that coming to prison solidifies their manhood is a fool...Most, if not all, of [the prisoners] wish they can turn back the hands of time. It’s hard to watch life pass you by, and even harder to watch your family grow up through photos. I am not doing “a lot” of time, but I still feel the pain when I think about my daughter."
He even warns people form making the same mistakes that he did.
"I am telling all the young men out there running wild to slow down. All of your so-called homeboys won’t be around when it rains and pours. You better go to school and experience the pain of studying for a test rather than sitting in a courtroom facing a sentence of 25 to life."
No one can discredit these messages, and he's talking from firsthand experiences.
OK, but even IF he has his life turned around and is all there mentally, that means squat when a 250-pound linebacker is barreling towards you.
Clarett would have to get back into "football shape," and based on his past, that could be a challenge.
Remember, during his year off, he lost all control and ballooned up to 256 pounds. Then he showed up to the Denver Broncos training camp about 20 pounds overweight at 248 pounds.
However, weight isn't the only issue. Clarett would have to be stronger, faster, and more agile than before.
But talk to Maurice, and he'll tell you that's not a problem.
"I am 220, rock solid. I am moving swift, running fast, and jumping high. My mind is right and my life is in order. I am 25, but I feel like I am 18. I am still young."
If that's the case, then does he really have a chance?
Will teams be willing to at least give him a look?
Will he have this new found discipline once he's released from the prison cell into the temptation filled world where he's already messed up so many times?
Right now, we can only speculate.
Maurice says in one of his posts, "I am rock solid. I train hard. I go hard. I’m HERE."
Yeah, Maurice is "here" and he'll be "here" when he gets out.
The question is...
Will anyone be waiting?