The next chapter in the Maurice Clarett saga has been written. Unfortunately, this story just gets stranger and less enjoyable as it goes along.
Before we proceed, let's be sure to state that Clarett has not exactly proven to be a menace to society. He hasn't even come close to the depths of shame that we saw individuals like Andrew Lee and Marco Cooper sink to. However, there's little doubt that his own actions are beginning to stand in the way of future success.
Maurice Clarett, as we all know, is the most talented running back to play for Ohio State in several years and has the ability to be a first round NFL draft pick. At this point though, it's up to Maurice as to whether or not he is going to let things he has control over dictate his future. In most likelihood, we don't know all the details of what is going on, so it's difficult to make a fair comment on the whole thing. What we do know though is that Clarett got himself into this mess, and it's Clarett who has the most to lose.
Maybe Maurice needs to take a look at Warren Sapp and Randy Moss. Those guys have one thing in common -- their own actions cost them millions of dollars as they saw their draft position plummet due to questions surrounding their character. These might not be the best examples as both guys are pretty much financially set, but we can also throw in guys like Lawrence Phillips, Cecil Collins, and even someone like Jeremiah Pharms, a linebacker out of Washington who was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2001 but got in trouble with the law, costing him his career. For all these guys, their own foolish actions cost them quite a bit of money.
Maybe he also needs to chat with Willis McGahee. Willis made a stunning rise back up to the first round of the draft this year, but in a perfect world, he would have been a top five pick who received a much higher contract and product endorsement deals to go with it. But something out of his control cost him those things. Maybe McGahee would help Maurice realize that with all the unknown and uncontrollable things that can happen, it's foolish to let things you can control stand in the way of success.
In reality, I don't think we need to worry about Clarett being a Pharmer or going the route of the Lawrence Phillipses and Cecil Collinses. He's done nothing (that I know about anyway) that would make me believe that he would be heading down that path of ultimate dumbness, and some of the controversies that have unfortunately followed this young man have been overblown. Hopefully though, this event will cause him to keep himself as straight as possible and put him on that path to maximizing his success.
Some fans have wondered whether or not Maurice Clarett is good for this program. Let's get one thing straight right now though -- there's no way that I or any of us want him to fail. The world is littered with individuals who, for some reason, love to see good people fail once they reach honest success, and that's idiocy. Hopefully this doesn't come off like a lecture because I don't pretend to know or relate to what Maurice Clarett is going through or what he's been through in his life, but I don't want to think that there's any chance we could see another talented person with the potential to do so much not reach that potential because of things that could have been avoided.
I'm not worried about the team; the team will be fine. They're going to go out and give 110% and win, even if I was at tailback (a scenario that would likely cause OSU to go to the run-and-shoot). They showed through all the adversity last year that they have the ability to not let these things bother them, and they'll do it again. But let's all hope that Maurice's next run comes on a handoff from Craig Krenzel and not someone in another uniform, and let's hope that Maurice doesn't let silly mistakes stand in the way of maximum success.