HEAD COACH MIKE SHANAHAN
On 2005 third-round draft choice (101st overall) RB Maurice Clarett – Ohio State
"Maurice Clarett is a running back who's downhill running ability we really like. He obviously hasn't played for a couple of years. We really feel like if he did play in those two years, he could have easily been a top-10, top-15 pick. We think he has that type of running skills. Obviously not playing for a couple of years, it's not going to be automatic for him to come back but I enjoyed my conversation with him tonight and we're going to give him a chance to fight for a position."
On why Denver selected Clarett
"We felt like we wanted to get a running back and we had him listed. We had a couple of guys that we felt very highly of and with Maurice being there at the last pick. He was one of the guys that we felt had a big upside, especially with our zone-blocking scheme. We'll get a chance to find out."
On how much concern the Broncos have about previous off-field issues
I don't think that you should get too caught up in that. He hasn't played for a couple of years. I know his situation, what's happened. His slate is clean and we are giving him an opportunity. Like I said, I think that he would be a top-10 or top-15 pick if he would've played his 3-4 years at Ohio State. Obviously, it didn't work out that way, but we are going to give him a chance. He either takes advantage of it or he doesn't. But we feel like it was worth the chance. We feel like we know running backs pretty good. We've had some success with them. We think he will fit into our system very well. Now only time will tell if he takes advantage of the situation."
On Clarett's 40-time at the Combine
"That could be a misconception. How do you know that he had speed at Ohio State when he ran as a freshman? Terrell Davis wasn't, so called, very fast. But he played very fast in games and had great cutting ability. So speed isn't always a factor. He's got great elusiveness, the ability to make some big runs. Sometimes speed can be overrated."
On what a player can gain or lose in two years away from the game
"I really don't know until he gets in here and starts working out. It's always tough for a young kid to be away for a little bit, just like it is for an older player to sit out for a year or two. He's been working out. We'll get him in here and see what he is able to do."
On if Clarett seemed grateful for the chance in Denver
"I think so. (Running Backs Coach) Bobby Turner has talked to him for the last couple of years. He is a very smart individual. Bobby's had a relationship with him over the years. He has a good feel for running backs and thinks the world of this kid."
RB MAURICE CLARETT
On if he was surprised to be selected by the Broncos in the third round of the NFL Draft
"I had actually turned the TV off and had got in the car and was just (waiting) on tomorrow. Coach (Broncos Running Backs Coach Bobby) Turner called me, I had been keeping in close contact with him and he called me. It was just funny to hear… funny to finally get to this point."
On if getting drafted by Denver in the third round is the "best-case scenario"
"It's wonderful. Knowing the Denver Broncos' system and knowing the offensive line they have and just knowing they run the ball… It's nothing more than I can imagine. Knowing the position coach, Coach Turner, having met with him the last two years and kept in touch with him, I just feel great, and seeing the great team they have, I just can't wait to get there. I'll be out there tomorrow. They'll see me there, and I'll be working hard and just trying to help Denver win more ball games."
On if he thought he was going to be a late-round pick
"I'm here. I'm not even talking about the Combine. The only thing I'm focusing on is winning more ball games with the team. I'm just ready to get to work. I've been waiting for this day for a long time, and it finally happened. Denver will win more ball games with me there."
On if he wants to start with a clean slate in Denver
"I think it is a clean slate. I think Coach Turner knew me, and he went to bat for me and told Coach Shanahan that he should take a bet on me. I got on the phone with Coach Shanahan, and he said he liked the things I did during my freshman year (at Ohio State). We are about to get started from here. I'm just excited. I can't wait to get there, I can't wait to start working. I'm just ready to go."
On what kind of shape he is in currently
"I'm in great shape right now, working out every day. I talked to Coach Turner and said, "If you need me to lose more weight, I'll lose more weight. If you need me to run more, I'll run more.' Whatever they ask of me, whatever I need to do, is going to happen. I'm just in a hurry to make a contribution. I just can't wait. It's "Mile High," it's a great tradition with the program, and I just can't wait to get out there and run for them."
On what he knows about the Broncos' running back situation
"I know Reuben Droughns had left. I met Tatum (Bell) last year. I know about Tatum Bell. I'm a team player, so whatever it takes to get everything done, that's what I'm going to do. If it's me alternating with other running backs or if it's me getting less reps or me getting more reps, it doesn't matter. I just can't wait to contribute."
2005 NFL Draft Quotes - Maurice Clarett
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