There was a time not too long ago when most everyone believed that Maurice Clarett had a prominent future as a star in the National Football League. With that dream now long gone, Clarett is apparently making a run at being the best in another sport: Rugby.
That certainly wasn’t a headline we expected to see this morning, but according to the Columbus Dispatch, Clarett has taken up the new sport and begun training with a Columbus, Ohio affiliate of Tiger Rugby. Tiger is the developmental program which will help select the first ever U.S. Olympic team, when rugby officially becomes a sanctioned Olympic sport in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro games.
And apparently, Clarett wants to be part of that team.
Admittedly, we’d be lying if we said that we knew much about the sport of rugby, or what it takes to become elite in it. Still, simple common logic seems to dictate that with his background in football Clarett would be a prime candidate for a transition to the sport.
After all, I don’t think we’re breaking any new ground by saying that rugby is a physically demanding sport, and that the same skills that would make a successful football player-including size, speed and toughness- would convert nicely onto the rugby pitch. It’s also no secret that at his best Clarett possessed all those skills, not to mention a stature which made him one of the most powerfully built backs in recent college football history.
Of course at the same time, this isn’t 2002 anymore, and it’s no secret that the Maurice Clarett who rushed for 1,237 yards in his only season at Ohio State ain’t walking through that door any time soon. After a subsequent, well-documented fall from grace, Clarett played his last meaningful football for the UFL’s Omaha Knighthawks in 2010, and even then, was just a shell of his former self. Clarett rushed 154 yards on 37 attempts that season.
Still, we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least send along our luck to Clarett.
For whatever has happened in the past it seems (at least in theory) that he has cleaned himself up since his stint behind bars, and deserves another chance to have success in whatever venture he chooses. At just 29-years-old, Clarett still has a lot of his life to live, and admittedly it’ll be pretty cool to watch his progress in the sport and see if he has any success at it.
I mean seriously, how cool would the story of “Maurice Clarett: Olympic Medalist” be?
In the meantime, we’ll have to wait and watch.
And for anyone hoping to get a look at Clarett in his new sport, well, the Ohio Rugby Sevens Invitational will take place in Mechanicsburg, Ohio, on May 25.
For all his opinion, insight and analysis on college football, please follow Aaron Torres on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.
Follow Crystal Ball Run on Twitter @CrystalBallRun.