When one football-shaped door closed for Maurice Clarett, a rugby-shaped one opened for the former Ohio State standout.
The 29-year-old has joined the Tiger Rugby Olympic Development Program in Columbus, Ohio, and he is determined to make his football skills translate into rugby ones in time for Rio 2016.
And so far, Clarett has more than impressed, despite not being in game-ready shape.
“He’s ridiculous. That’s all I can say,” Tiger Rugby director Paul Holmes said. “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 rushing for over 1,000 yards as a freshman at Ohio State, Clarett was drafted by the Broncos in the third round of the 2005 NFL draft, only to be released by Denver that same year before he played a single down.
Things went from bad to worse for the potential star as Clarett was charged with armed robbery and illegal gun possession and served jail time from 2006-2010. But now, the ex-running back is getting a second shot and it all starts with rugby.
“He’s a very interesting story of redemption. He’s a guy who had the world at his feet and he chose the wrong path as a young man, and he’s now basically finding himself, and over the course of the past few years, trying to correct as many mistakes as possible, and that kind of led him to rugby.”
Clarett’s road to redemption begins now, as he will start training immediately.
Photo via Facebook/Tiger.Rugby