By EDDIE PELLS, AP Sports Writer
August 28, 2005
DENVER (AP) -- Maurice Clarett's first stab at the NFL will end the same way his last two seasons on the sideline did: no carries, no yards, one big disappointment.
Unable to practice much or play at all during the preseason, Clarett will be released by the Denver Broncos later this week, his agent said Sunday.
``The kid called me and let me know they're going to let him go,'' Steven Feldman said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
Clarett's pending release also was reported by ESPN.com on Sunday.
Broncos spokesman Jim Saccomano said the team didn't plan to release anybody until Tuesday, which is the deadline for NFL teams to cut rosters to 65 players. The Broncos were off Sunday and scheduled to practice Monday.
The pending release marks a disappointing start to the NFL career of the troubled former Ohio State running back, who missed two years of football after leading the Buckeyes to the national title in 2002.
He got in trouble with the law and was suspended for the 2003 season. At that point, he hadn't been out of high school long enough to be eligible for the NFL draft, so he sued in federal court to become eligible and eventually lost that case.
While sitting out the 2004 season, Clarett turned on Ohio State, alleging coach Jim Tressel arranged for him to get passing grades, cars and money for bogus summer jobs. An NCAA investigation failed to verify any of Clarett's accusations.
He was a bust at the NFL scouting combine and most thought he would be a low draft pick, if a draft pick at all. The Broncos, who have a history of producing great runners from deep in the draft, surprised many by picking him in the third round.
At the time, coach Mike Shanahan said Clarett's sordid past didn't bother him.
``First of all, I think you don't get too caught up in that,'' Shanahan said. ``I know the situation, what's happened. His slate is clean and we're giving him an opportunity.''
Clarett made the unusual move of agreeing to a contract that included no signing bonus. He relinquished what would have been about a $400,000 bonus in exchange for incentives that could have earned him up to $7 million over four years.
If a team claims him off waivers, it will assume the terms of the contract. More likely is that Clarett will clear waivers, become a free agent and sign a new deal.
``I'd love to see someone pick up the contract,'' Feldman said. ``The way the incentives in the contract are, he won't get them with another team.''
Clarett came to Denver and said he simply wanted to start over and blend in. He talked a good game, but his chances of making the team were hurt early in training camp when he injured his groin and missed nearly two weeks of practice.
Some teammates questioned Clarett's commitment to rehabilitating the groin and as the missed practices piled up, Shanahan stopped defending Clarett to the media.
Clarett stopped talking to reporters. In one of his last interviews, he told the Denver Post he wanted to be with the Broncos, but ``if I get cut, if I don't have a place here, it won't be my first setback.''
Clarett was listed fifth on the depth chart behind Mike Anderson, Tatum Bell, Quentin Griffin and Ron Dayne, who is having a good camp. Shanahan did not play Clarett in any of Denver's three preseason games.
``I think at this point, I'm sure the Broncos did what they thought they needed to do,'' Feldman said.
Asked if his client was completely healthy, the agent said, ``I'm certain he is.''
As for the future: ``I'm not real confident of anything at this point,'' Feldman said. ``We'll see what happens now.''
Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
Yep, he sure as shit did well, didn't he?
That's what happens when you think you're ready for the big time as a 19 yo punk w/ one year of college.
He could have been great, if he had let his college coach teach him.
He is still young, and he does have talent. He'll still probably make it, but he could have been a senior at Ohio State, and a possible heisman candidate, and damn high on the draft.
Shanahan picking him was just another sign that he's losing his touch.
Clarett will never make it in the NFL.