Clarett’s Actions Are A Cry For Help, But Is He Open To Receiving It?

By LaToya Hardaway
Updated: August 10, 2006

in the spotlight at Ohio State

in the spotlight at Ohio State

DALLAS — Maurice Clarett has gone from being one of the most celebrated college tailbacks back four years ago at Ohio State, after winning the National Championship against Miami in January 2003, to being a menace to society.

For the second time in less than a year, he has been arrested by police and once again weapons seem to be the conversation ‘piece’.As I was drawn to the tube upon hearing this latest travesty all I could say was “Oh, Lord, not again.”

It was all but predicted that Maurice Clarett’s life would head towards a swift downward spiral after failing to make a career in the NFL.

Shortly following the Buckeyes’ Fiesta Bowl victory, instead of hearing that he is continuing with spring practice and looking towards another dominant 2003 season, he was eventually suspended from competition, and dropped out of OSU completely to make himself available for the 2004 draft.

It didn’t appear as if he had a plan B for his life, because football seemed to be his only way out even if it meant suing the NFL in order to reverse eligibility rules that have been in place for years.

Instead of trying to force himself to be the chosen one, he should have been accountable for his actions and redeeming himself by just working hard and maintaining, then declaring for the 2005 draft. Despite the drama that shadowed his being, the scouts, head coaches and GMs were still waiting, eyes wide open to see the progress that Maurice Clarett was expected to make during those two years of waiting for a date with the NFL.

Like they say, “Everybody got issues.”People make mistakes, and I’m one for giving individuals a second chance because no one is excluded from making wrong choices that breed negative consequences.

What Maurice did doesn’t mean he’s a bad seed, but much of the media and others have been quick to imply otherwise. So, it was a relief at the time that the Broncos organization mimicked those sentiments.

Why not, we’ve dealt with Terrell Owens action for years on and off the football field, and he’s a veteran. Keith Davis is not going to be randomly shot at twice in over two years.

As Denver is notorious for doing so, they take chances on the underdogs, especially a great back.Hence, Clarett was drafted in the third round in 2005. But, why he showed up at the NFL combines rather plump for a back, surprising most with his lack of conditioning, is anyone’s guess!

My guess, it didn’t matter-he arrived and he was in-at least that the way he saw it.

In a report from the Associated Press, coaches and veteran players immediately tried to reach out to Clarett once he arrived at Broncos training camp despite an incline in his personal rap sheet.

A young man- with a tremendous upswing in his football ability and in need of outside support system-turns away from his would be team?

Claurett given chance to show he belongs in the NFL

Claurett given chance to show he belongs in the NFL

Cold shoulders and a groin injury that prevented him from really showcasing his football skills was the catalyst, and Denver head coach Mike Shanahan was tired of it, and admitted that his Clarett’s aloofness was one of the reasons he made the decision to cut Maurice from the team before preseason play.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been around a bunch of guys reach out to a guy more than Maurice, trying to help him and a guy not wanting that help.”

He blew his chances.Ohio State University.Now the Denver Broncos, the NFL and NFL Europe.He banked on the big leagues, yet never cashed a check.

As we fast forward to date, America is watching as another black athlete, Maurice Clarett, falls by the wayside and his continued downward spiral in this thing we called life is scrutinized in every way.

With a trial scheduled to begin next week for previous charges, he’s arrested yet again August 9 for weapons- after what was thought to be a routine traffic stop-but turned out to be a highway chase once he refused to stop after making an illegal U turn.

A hatchet. Four loaded guns. A half bottle of Vodka- the infamous Grey Goose.A disc found in the SUV containing children’s songs. Clarett wearing a bullet proof vest.Is this Maurice Clarett, or 50 Cent?!

It's going downhill quick for the former back.  Shown making a call after Wednesday's arrest

It's going downhill quick for the former back. Shown making a call after Wednesday's arrest

The whole (reported) scene is eerie, and it’s reminiscent of someone who was ready to die. That’s just the way it is, especially when Maurice never really had to earn anything.

It was simply handed to him, the old sense of entitlement.His gridiron skills were supposed to guarantee that want Maurice wanted, he would receive.No one dared to say no to him.That is, until the Denver Broncos became the first to do so.

The umbilical cord that leads to a pro football career has been cut.His realization that he will never probably play a down in the NFL has taken this young man to another emotional low.

Now, he remain in jail until his trial begins, and it’s a 99 percent chance the law will make sure he gets much time for his crimes.

And I’m 100 percent sure jail is the best place for him, because for Maurice Clarett, things have hit bottom.Today’s arrest was an example. It was almost one last cry for help, someone bigger than us listened.

I just hope he’s ready to receive.

NOTE: The Associated Press also contributed to this story.