Buckeyes To Play Flag Football For Charity

Charity events are always a big part of the summer for former Ohio State football stars, but one might stand above the rest when it comes to competitive level. The All-Star Bowl, set for June 26, boasts some former Buckeyes and NFL players who all want to beat each other.

How seriously did Maurice Clarett take last year’s “Fight Melanoma with Football” flag football game of former Ohio State stars?

Well, he ran over a dude.

“I caught a pass – it was a shallow route – and I was trying to juke and move up the field,” Clarett said Friday. “He was coming down from the safety position. Instinctively, he wasn’t slowing down and I wasn’t about to just let him run into my legs. I said, ‘Hey, you wanna go, let’s go.’ ”

Rumor has it the victim of running into what was once one of the most punishing runners in college football didn’t go to work for a week afterward, but that just goes to show how competitive the game became.

“There was about three minutes left and Maurice called a timeout and said, ‘I’m not losing this charity game,’ ” said MusclePharm co-founder Cory Gregory, who came up with the idea for the game and sponsors it.

“It started off light and through the course of everybody being competitive, people want to win,” Clarett said. “You have a bunch of younger guys who want to see if they can stack up to the older guys. You have older guys trying to turn it on and say, ‘I still got it,’ and the next thing you know, everything gets very competitive.”

Now, the game hopes to stay competitive but make another leap forward. It will have a new name – the All-Star Bowl – and a new location, Veterans Field at New Albany High School just northeast of Columbus, when it takes place June 26.

A year ago, the event raised $35,000 that went to fight skin cancer at the James Cancer Center at Ohio State, and the goal this year is to more than double that figure, with the game partnering with After-School All-Stars Ohio as well as SKNLUV, a skin cancer awareness movement.

Tickets are $20 but even more importantly, fans can have a chance to take part as for a $500 donation or corporate sponsorship, which is how one fan received the ability to be on the wrong end of Clarett’s run a season ago.

“They’ve already experienced this at a high level,” Gregory said, “but for a guy like myself that has not – I’m an athlete from a fitness standpoint but not in football, so when you get a chance to live that up, it’s fun for the sponsors.”

“It’s like Al Bundy,” Clarett added.

This year’s game – the brainchild of Gregory, who used to host football games between friends and family in his side yard before getting the idea of expanding it to a new level – is expected to feature Clarett as well as such notable names as Mike Doss, Cie Grant, Beanie Wells, Scott McMullen, Matt Wilhelm, Tyler Everett, Jay Richardson, Kirk Barton, Matt Finkes and more.

“It was fun last year,” Everett said. “I had a lot of fun competing and I said, ‘Hey, as soon as you find out next year’s date, let me know. I’ll be there.’ ”

There will also be pregame fan festivities, free skin screenings and product samples, autograph opportunities, halftime fun, and awards presentation and more.

But the biggest part of the show will be the game, and the Buckeyes said they plan on being ready to go a month from now in New Albany.

“(Clarett) told me walking in, ‘I’m going to be in shape for this one. I’m getting ready,’ ” Everett said. “Last year, we had some people that hadn’t played in a while and you could tell. But it was fun, and at the same time it was serious. Everybody is competitive, and everybody loves for us to come out and do it for charity. We have to give them a good show.

“Once the lights came on, it took us back to high school and prime-time games. For these new guys coming in, you have about four weeks to get in shape.”

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