March 22, 2013
Maurice Clarett was a bust in the NFL, first failing in his attempt to sue the league for early entry into the draft, then failing in his attempt to make the Broncos' roster a year later. But he's hoping things work out differently in a new sport.
The 29-year-old Clarett is taking up a new sport, rugby, with a goal of making the U.S. national team that will compete for a 2016 Olympic berth. Clarett has been talking up his rugby training on Twitter, and Paul Holmes, the director of the Tiger Rugby Olympic Development Program, says Clarett seems genuinely dedicated to the sport.
"He's committed to try to make Rio 2016," Holmes told Rugby Magazine. "That's Maurice's plan."
One of the reasons the United States doesn't fare well in international rugby competitions is that if you're the type of athlete who would make a great rugby player and you grew up in the United States, you were probably steered toward football, not rugby. So Holmes is excited to have an athlete on his hands who was good enough to be a third-round draft pick as an NFL running back.
"He's ridiculous. That's all I can say," Holmes said of Clarett. "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."
After so much of Clarett's career has been described as "ridiculous" in a bad way, it's encouraging to hear him described, for once, as "ridiculous" in a good way.