After weeks of hypothetical situations of players leaving the gridiron for the pitch, there’s finally a realistic scenario! Maurice Clarett was the 2005 Denver Broncos third round draft pick out of Ohio State University fallen from grace looking for one more chance. Clarett had a run in with the law in September 2006, when he was arrested for gun possessions. The former Buckeye has turned to rugby with hopes of participating in the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Clarett began training at Tiger Rugby, a rugby academy in Columbus, Ohio last week and has impressed coaches at the academy, Tiger Rugby coach Paul Holmes most notably.
“He’s ridiculous. That’s all I can say,” said Holmes. “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 has told the media that his decision to switch from football to rugby was mostly for the opportunity to play in the Olympics and his admiration towards the game of rugby.
“My ultimate goal is to become an Olympian, absolutely. You take yourself as a student, like you would be in football. I started off at home watching YouTube videos. You watch guys who are in front of you, who are better than you, and you try to mimic them,” said Clarett. “I’ve never played rugby, I’ve always watched it and been intrigued by it, because I thought it resembled football in a lot of ways. I have ventured over to something that is very physical, very fast, very like football.”
This is a very intriguing project for the coaches at Tiger Rugby. Clarett certainly has the physical set to be successful in the sport, but he has a history of off the field issues that forced him off the track a decade ago. Clarett experienced his most success in his single year at Ohio State before he was dismissed from the school. In his one year at OSU Clarett rushed for 1,237 yards and 18 touchdowns. However, after his freshman season Clarett was dismissed from Ohio State after multiple issues off the field.
Clarett’s off the field issues certainly raise a red flag, but it will certainly be fun to follow Clarett’s journey. Do you believe he has it in him?