Maurice Clarett has traveled down an incredibly windy road throughout his 29 years of life, and it appears he has decided to take another unexpected turn. According to RugbyMag.com, Clarett is currently training to try to make the US rugby team for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
Clarett has joined the Tiger Rugby Olympic Development Program in Columbus, Ohio. He has absolutely no prior rugby experience, but Tiger Rugby director Paul Holmes praised Clarett for being a tremendous athlete.
“He’s committed to try to make Rio in 2016,” Holmes said. “That’s Maurice’s plan. His footwork is phenomenal. He’s nowhere near conditioned for rugby, but that will come. … The stuff he’s doing in the gym right now, he’s just ridiculous.”
Clarett rushed for 1,237 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown in the national championship during his freshman season at Ohio State. He was one of the most promising young talents in college football before the Buckeyes dismissed him after it was believed that he took $20,000 worth of improper benefits during his freshman season. He unsuccessfully tried to join the NFL Draft early after leaving college but wasn’t able to enter until he was taken by the Denver Broncos in the third round of the 2005 draft. Clarett then got into more legal trouble that included an armed robbery incident after being released by the Broncos.
And now, the former Buckeye wants to represent his country — in a sport he has never played. As for his troubled past, Walker said the folks at Tiger Rugby were given reason to believe Clarett is a changed man.
“We hit up a few guys whose opinion we value in Columbus,” Walker explained. “We’ve been assured by people that we trust that he’s a different person, that he’s found himself. And I believe in giving him a shot.”
Is Clarett going to be on the US rugby team when the sport makes its Olympic debut in a few years? That would be a miracle, but at least he’s found himself a hobby that should help keep him out of trouble. If he was in it for the money, he’d probably just go back to Ohio State and fish around. He made some good dough there 10 years ago.
H/T SB Nation