The Only Thing Surprising Is That Clarett Lasted This Long In Denver

By Gregory Moore
Updated: August 31, 2005

Maurice Clarett has failed to make the roster of the Denver Broncos and it should not be surprising to anyone. The question is can Clarett be mature enough to rebound and try to make somebody else's 53 man roster to save his career.

Maurice Clarett has failed to make the roster of the Denver Broncos and it should not be surprising to anyone. The question is can Clarett be mature enough to rebound and try to make somebody else’s 53 man roster to save his career.

SAN ANTONIO — The Denver Broncos became a hurricane of their own with Maurice Clarett this week. Mike Shanahan surprised a lot of Broncos� fans and sports media with the selection of the former Ohio State running back in the third round of this year�s draft.

What was a surprise move by Clarett was the fact that he still illusions of grandeur on his playing abilities and had a contract structured to where he has no guaranteed money. The incentive laden deal was a reported four year-$7 million deal.

The Broncos were willing to give him around $400,000 as a signing bonus but Clarett said no. He also vowed to now make the franchise look stupid. Well this week Clarett has been able to do the latter by being placed on waivers. The reason? Unreliable as a player.

Now backers of Clarett will say that he simply has not been afforded the opportunity to show what he can do. Undoubtedly somebody will e-mail me and say that Clarett�s dismissal was based on race or prejudicial aspects of his life like his past instances against his former college.

They will say that Shanahan doesn�t know how to use him properly. That�s kind of Nostradomus in nature because according to the Denver Post, Clarett was overheard saying such things on his cell phone after meeting with Shanahan on Sunday. But what was the real reason why Clarett was let go?

How come this career in the NFL may never see the light of day again? Because Clarett is not NFL material and it just surprising to me that he has lasted this long before the �experts� figured it out.

Clarett supporters need to ask themselves what chance were they expecting Clarett to get because if you look at what the Broncos did, they have him ample opportunity to step up and make the team. His work ethic on and off the field showed that of someone who either didn�t care because he was a national champion in college or figured he was too tough for his teammates.

Add to the huge ego problem the fact that he spent more time in a rehabilitation tub than on the field in pads and that he never showed that burning inside of football players who are trying to make a roster, and you now get the full brunt of why so many media writers, including myself, kept saying that Clarett will never be a featured running back at this level. And for the Broncos, they weren�t missing him and really weren�t concerned. They figured if he didn�t care, they moved on without him.

Supporters of Clarett will have you believe that Clarett didn�t make the cut because of Ron Dayne. Dayne made the cut because he is a running back who can sustain in this league. Dayne is a difference maker and a playmaker. I t wasn�t that long ago that the Wisconsin running back was the backfield mate to Tiki Barber. Dayne is everything that Clarett wishes he could be.

Clarett has a long way to go and at least the Broncos gave him a shot. Two years removed from football means you have work your butt off and that is something that the former Ohio State player didn�t do.

No one is surprised that Clarett washed out before the beginning of the season. Many are just surprised that he lasted as long as he did; himself included probably.


The San Antonio Spurs added some firepower to their roster and it is not with Michael Finley. Finley may have been the most coveted of free agents now since the amnesty clause has kicked in but what Nick Van Exel brings to the Spurs is something that too many fans had wished for about two years now: toughness.

The 12-year veteran who broke into the league as a draft choice of the Los Angeles Lakers has been a thorn in the sides of numerous Spurs teams over the years because of his uncanny ability to single handedly takes games over in crunch time.

If Robert Horry is Sir Galahad in Gregg Popovich�s court, Van Exel is undoubtedly the Black Knight. Think of Van Exel as the Punisher who has now joined sides with Captain America and Spider Man in the fight against Red Skull and the Kingpin.

With the a career 15.9 points per game and seven assists per game as averages, the addition of Van Exel works in the Spurs favor as added insurance in a conference that is re-tooling every day. Van Exel�s shooting ability and his game prowess fits right in to what the Spurs need now.

Should the Spurs be able to sign hometown favorite Devin Brown this summer, the Spurs could have a potential bench play that could give you almost fifty points a game with Van Exel, Brown and Brent Barry.

So where does this leave the Spurs in their pursuit of Finley? That door is officially closed with this acquisition. The Spurs are guard heavy as it is and the way this team operates, Finley�s bad knees and defensive deficiencies would be a detriment to what they are currently after; another Larry O�Brien trophy.

So what would this roster look like with this acquisition? How�s this for a Spurs second string team: Van Exel at the point, Brown at shooting guard, Barry at small forward, Horry at power forward and Fabrico Oberto at center?

That�s a big second string that could give big points in games this season. It also shows that Van Exel may have gotten rid of his bad boy image in favor of being a team leader.