Mar 21, 2013, 10:42 AM EDT
Football flameout Maurice Clarett has found a new home in Rugby, and says he’s committed to making it on the U.S. team for the Rio Olympics.
The 29-year-old former Ohio State star has joined up with the Tiger Rugby Olympic Development Program in Columbus, and team director Paul Holmes told Rugby Mag that he couldn’t be happier with the decision:
“He’s ridiculous. That’s all I can say. 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 led Ohio State in rushing his freshman year in 2002, and scored the winning touchdown in overtime of the Fiesta Bowl to secure the BCS National Championship for his team. But academic and behavioral problems got him suspended and then dismissed in 2003.
Clarett failed to sue his way into the NFL Draft after being named ineligible due to his age, then sat out a year before being drafted by the Broncos in 2005. He was released before he ever played an NFL game.
Oh, then Clarett spent four years in jail for armed robbery and illegal gun possession. But Walker says they’ve done their homework on Clarett, and made sure he’s matured through his experiences.
“We hit up a few guys whose opinion we value…” Walker said. “We’ve been assured by people that we trust that he’s a different person, that he’s found himself. And I believe in giving him a shot.”
Walker says that Clarett doesn’t really know the game yet, but will begin training with the team immediately to learn the ins and outs of the sport, and to get in shape so he can aim for a spot in Rio.
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