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Old 08-31-2005, 05:43 PM   #23
Suitanim
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Default Re: Steelers interested in Clarett???

Posted on Wed, Aug. 31, 2005

Clarett needs new excuses after release

By Terry Pluto

Dear Maurice Clarett:

Whose fault is it this time?

Have you tried to answer that question? Or do you think there will be another team, another set of advisers, someone else to take care of you?

Do you understand what it means to be drafted in the third round by the Denver Broncos, then cut before the first regular-season game? Do you know how close you are to having no football career, no degree and no real future?

You might think, ``I just got some bad advice.''

Your defenders say that every time something goes wrong. Booted out of Ohio State after a year, showing up fat at the NFL combine, having an attitude of entitlement -- it's really not your fault.

Maurice, quit conning yourself.

No high school and college player of your caliber gets bad advice, you just decide to listen to bad advice. You shop around until you find someone who tells you what you want to hear -- and you ignore those who try to tell you what you really need to know.

Your high school coach at Warren Harding was Thom McDaniels. He is a Hall of Fame-caliber coach who has sent players to the NFL going back to Canton McKinley. Do you think Michael Doss got bad advice? How about Kenny Peterson or Jamar Martin? They played for McDaniels at McKinley, then played at Ohio State. They're now in the NFL.

Doss and Peterson were your teammates on the 2002 NCAA championship Buckeyes. McDaniels started the job, Jim Tressel finished it. Both coaches told you to go with the program, go to class, work reasonably hard and be a decent person. The NFL millions would be there soon enough.

It's a well-worn road that has led countless Buckeye players into the pros. But you wanted to go your way, and you used anger as a fuel.

Understand that anger leads only in one direction -- bitterness and victim-hood. Anger never takes responsibility. Anger never teaches anything constructive. Anger eats you up inside and alienates you from everyone else.

You were unhappy because you weren't paid (legitimately) by OSU when 104,000 fans watched you play each week. You were mad when you couldn't turn pro after your freshman year. Guys can do it in other sports, why not football?

You seethed at the system, and tried to take down OSU by making charges of academic fraud and other infractions. That led to the NCAA spending a year on the campus investigating. The results led to one minor violation, quarterback Troy Smith taking $500 from a booster.

Don't you see that you just made your life miserable searching for shortcuts?

Don't you understand that the Broncos wanted you to make it. They shocked the NFL by taking you in the third round, when most scouts thought you'd be fortunate to be drafted at all.

Your college career consisted of 11 games, then you sat out for two years trying to win a court case against the NFL. Yet, the Broncos offered you a $400,000 bonus. But you rejected that and signed an incentive-packed contract where you could make more than $5 million -- assuming you became a star.

Then you arrived in training camp and were one of eight running backs. Nothing was guaranteed from a contract to a roster spot. You pulled a groin, then barely practiced.

There were whispers that your injury wasn't that severe, that you wanted out of Denver because you realized you wouldn't play. You acted like a star, when every NFL rookie is correctly viewed as a scrub until proven otherwise.

Most coaches would rather cut their tongues out than admit what Denver's Mike Shanahan told reporters: ``Anytime you cut somebody in the third round, obviously you feel like you made a mistake... in a true evaluation of your entire organization, anytime you use a third-round choice and he doesn't make your team -- that's not good.''

No, it's not. Especially for you, Maurice Clarett.
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