INDIANAPOLIS -- Maurice Clarett was quicker and more evasive with questions from Thursday than he will be for NFL scouts this week.
That's because the running back who won his challenge to the NFL's draft system announced he would skip Friday's workouts at the scouting combine and wait six more weeks before giving scouts a chance to evaluate his skills on the field.
The reason: he said he wanted more time to train after a suspension cost him his entire sophomore season at Ohio State.
Not everyone accepted the explanation, which could lower his position in the draft even more: the wait is clearly to get in shape after he weighed in at 237 pounds. In fact, his decision clearly antagonized a lot of the people he is supposed to be impressing.
"That's a farce," Buffalo Bills general manager Tom Donahoe said. "That was expected but that's ridiculous."
Clarett said he made the decision at the urging of his mother.
After beating the NFL in a courtroom twice this month to become eligible for the draft, Clarett, 20, will become the first true sophomore in the NFL draft.
He weight is seven pounds more than he played at, and the 230 at which he was listed may have been questionable. He even acknowledged he wasn't in top condition despite working out for the past couple weeks.
Scouts wondered why Clarett didn't arrive for the weeklong combine better prepared after missing an entire season and then challenging the NFL's rule requiring underclassmen to complete three years of school before declaring for the draft.
Clarett said simply that he wanted more time to train and that he was scheduling a personal workout in Columbus, Ohio, the first week of April.
"I'm kicking it in the next four weeks," Clarett said. "I want to put myself in the best position possible."
It wasn't well received by those who wanted to see Clarett run. It also raised questions about his attitude.
"I just want to see what he looks like," Detroit Lions president Matt Millen said. "We've got to do our homework and he's got to do his."
Clarett was grilled by reporters for about 15 minutes in a preview than what he is likely to face later Thursday night when teams begin interviewing players one-on-one. The NFL limits teams to 60 interviews and Clarett said he expected to talk to all 32 teams.
He was asked repeatedly about his character, his medical history, his durability, whether he was prepared physically and mentally to jump to the NFL. He dodged a question about his agent, saying he hadn't yet made a decision even though he is believed to have chosen Jimmy Sexton.
And he promised to show a different side in the NFL.
"I think I'm going to keep my mouth shut at this level," he said.
While teams hope to start getting more answers Thursday night, the bigger issues may require more examination.
Doctors checked Clarett's left shoulder, which he hurt during his record-setting freshman season with the Buckeyes.
He also had knee surgery that year and missed three games and parts of two others because of the injuries. He still set an Ohio State freshman record with 1,237 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Clarett explained the injuries by saying he played hard and was working on his feet to avoid taking big hits.
As Clarett spoke, he smiled frequently and seemed to relish the momen
"I feel I've made a transition," he said. "I get to wake up thinking about football and go to sleep thinking about football and I'm in my world, really."
Now he must find a place to fit in.
Donahoe thinks that could be difficult. He didn't mince words when asked to compare Clarett's uncertain future to that of Willis McGahee, who the Bills drafted in the first round last year despite a knee injury that kept him out of all 16 games last year.
"Let's not put Clarett in the same category as McGahee," Donahoe said. "That's not fair to Willis. Willis attitude-wise and character-wise, that's a big difference."
He's acting as if he's one of the premier draft picks for this year-those guys normally skip the combine and do private workouts. But he's not in that group-he hasn't played a snap in almost 14 months, and he needs to be doing more, not less, that the average NFL wanna-be. But because "mom" told him not to work out, he's raising more questions and hurting his already-damaged image among NFL scouts.
I'd be thrilled if everyone passed him up in the draft. He feels the world owes him something, when it owes him nothing.
Alpha 1 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 2, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 888 times:
L-188, it's too late for the next appeal. That won't even be heard until after the draft.
Kind of off-subject, but doesn't anyone find it kind of strange that really important litigation, like murders, rape, and the like, those cases take months or years to present, but somehow, when it comes to something to do with athletics, that the cases just fly through the litigation system? If a judge can't schedule a murder trial for 5 months down the road, why the hell should some snot-nosed prima-donna like Clarrett be able to get his case heard so damned fast?
Alpha 1 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 6, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 878 times:
He's very good friends with LeBron James. Too bad he hasn't taken LeBron's cue and realized that it isn't all about him, but about trying to win and improve yourself. I was worried about LeBron before the season began, but damned if he hasn't been impressive on the floor, and anything but a spoiled brat off the floor. Maurice obviously hasn't been paying attention.
Startvalve From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 13, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 839 times:
It's all Bush's fault
Clarett is a dumbass. We all know big sports universities specialise in academic fraud for their beloved athletes. However, most athletes are smart enough to actually attempt to do the work, even if it is 15 minutes before class. Just to keep up the appearances some even show up for classes other than just the test days. I guess this is just one more example of the decline of college athletes. Clarett is a dumbass and if I were in charge of selecting a player for an NFL team no matter how good he is I would not want him. Do you think someone whose ego is already this inflated in college is going to do anything for a team in the NFL when he is making money that is not under the table?
"I'm kicking it in the next four weeks," - From the mouth of a sophomore at what is considered one of the better public institutions of higher learning.
Remember the days not so long ago when people went to college for the education? Back when sports were secondary to the primary goal of making something useful of yourself. Something needs to be done about college being a minor league for the pros, this is getting stupid.
Jcs17 From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 8065 posts, RR: 41 Reply 18, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 799 times:
I really think that Clarett will become the next Lawrence Phillips. For this guy it was all about the cash. Lets see, he sits out a year then goes to the combine and shows up 20 pounds overweight and refuses to participate. Not to mention he has a real injury problem. What an assclown. Great. I hope you have a good time with your one year NFL career when you're drafted in the 3rd round, a two year CFL career, and spending the rest of your life trying to scrape by--realizing, ten years down the road that you should have been more serious at Ohio St. instead of trying to calculate the millions you would make in the NFL. The guy thinks he's LeBron--the only difference is that football and basketball are two different animals altogether. The one who will be most dissappointed though will be the gravy-trainer that is Jim Brown, sorry Jim, Maurice won't be able to support you in five years--maybe less. Jim Brown is a f---ing joke.
Alpha 1 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 20, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 787 times:
A bunch of losers that cant play at Miami or USC..
What a dumb statement!! Did you check the last time Miami played those "losers"? ROTFL. I think the "losers" won, despite the crybaby antics of KROC, and others who can't ever get over the fact that OSU won that game. They won, Miami didn't.
God, but some people are not too bright around here.