For those of you who don’t know what a Nighthawk is, at least one member of the first installation of the team will look a lot like a jailbird.
We’re told that the UFL’s fifth franchise has agreed to terms with running back Maurice Clarett, a day after Clarett received a tryout with the Omaha Nighthawks.
The one-year Ohio State star last played football in January 2003. He was suspended by the Buckeyes for his sophomore season, and Clarett sued the NFL for the right to enter the 2004 draft. Despite initial success, he eventually lost both the case and any remaining college eligibility.
In 2005, the Broncos picked Clarett with the last selection in round three of the draft. He didn’t survive the preseason roster cuts.
On January 1, 2006, Clarett allegedly was involved in two separate armed robberies. Later that year, a police chase ended with Clarett being Tasered and maced. He spent more than three years in prison after striking a plea deal, and he was released earlier this year.
We’re told that Clarett is receiving no special privileges because of his name recognition, and that he has earned his spot on the team. Either way, he’ll now have to compete on the field for the first time in years — and it’ll be interesting to see if he has anything left.
We wish him well. He played a big role in the National Championship that the Buckeyes won, and he has paid his debt to society. If Mike Vick can return in the NFL after a six-year lifestyle of torturing and killing dogs, Clarett deserves a shot to play football again, too.