Maurice Clarett wants to be a rugby Olympian

AP

Maurice Clarett was a bust in the NFL, first failing in his attempt to sue the league for early entry into the draft, then failing in his attempt to make the Broncos’ roster a year later. But he’s hoping things work out differently in a new sport.

The 29-year-old Clarett is taking up a new sport, rugby, with a goal of making the U.S. national team that will compete for a 2016 Olympic berth. Clarett has been talking up his rugby training on Twitter, and Paul Holmes, the director of the Tiger Rugby Olympic Development Program, says Clarett seems genuinely dedicated to the sport.

He’s committed to try to make Rio 2016,” Holmes told Rugby Magazine. “That’s Maurice’s plan.”

One of the reasons the United States doesn’t fare well in international rugby competitions is that if you’re the type of athlete who would make a great rugby player and you grew up in the United States, you were probably steered toward football, not rugby. So Holmes is excited to have an athlete on his hands who was good enough to be a third-round draft pick as an NFL running back.

“He’s ridiculous. That’s all I can say,” Holmes said of Clarett. “His footwork is phenomenal. He’s nowhere near conditioned for rugby, but that will come. . . . The stuff he’s doing in the gym right now, he’s just ridiculous.”

After so much of Clarett’s career has been described as “ridiculous” in a bad way, it’s encouraging to hear him described, for once, as “ridiculous” in a good way.

36 responses to “Maurice Clarett wants to be a rugby Olympian

  1. This move makes the US a sure-fire contender for ninth place, behind New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, England, Wales, Scotland, France, and Argentina.

  2. Good for him. Looks a lot better than the last photos I’d seen of him. Would be a great story and draw a lot of attention Stateside if the US could make it.

  3. Good luck to him! It’d be pretty awesome if he’s able to accomplish this.

  4. Good for him. He made some mistakes but then haven’t we all? I hope this is a fresh start for him and that he makes himself and the USA very successful.

  5. Clarett is a wannabe. Wannabe pro football player; wannabe gangsta – and now wannabe international rugby player.

  6. I say that’s awesome. Good for him! Maybe as soon as everyone gets off their soapbox they can realize that everyone deserves a chance at redemption. Amazing how many perfect people post on these boards. It’s an honor to be surrounded by so many perfect people…

  7. At least he is doing something positive. With so many former players caught up doing things they shouldn’t after their playing days are completed, him doing Rugby or anything else positive is a plus.

  8. You can’t just step in and be a US Eagle (rugby national squad). No way he can learn enough about the sport to make the 7s squad for Rio. Could make a good player for Columbus though.

  9. Rugby 7’s is not rugby 15s. If the USA can field 7 NFL Caliber athletes they will compete just fine in the Olympics (has another 3 years to learn this sport).
    I hope he is able to salvage his life and career after pissing away so many of the best years of his life.
    Michael Smith hit it right on the head, any elite level athlete that played rugby in high school went with football instead… Can’t blame them.

  10. I played rugby for a long time and when we had guys convert from football (if they had talent) they’d either be horrible & not able to take the hitting and the fact that there are no stoppages like huddles, or they’d get it & be amazing.

    Here’s hoping that Clarett falls into the amazing category & turns his life around. IF he wants this, it’s going to require an enormous amount of work and dedication. Those skills could serve him well if he chooses to turn his life around.

    Go USA Eagles!

  11. “So Holmes is excited to have an athlete on his hands who was good enough to be a third-round draft pick as an NFL running back.”

    Lol not a very correct statement. The Donks may have taken him in the 3rd round, but he obviously wasn’t good enough to be a 3rd round pick because he was cut so quickly and few teams cut 3rd rounders any time soon after the draft.

    That was a huge overreach by the Donks.

  12. “You can’t just step in and be a US Eagle (rugby national squad). No way he can learn enough about the sport to make the 7s squad for Rio. Could make a good player for Columbus though.”

    He has 3 years to learn the sport. Of course he can (i would hope). He was/is? a more or less top notch athlete that will hopefully be able to learn the sport in that time. it took me about 2 years to learn the ins and outs of rugby, albeit only playing a fall and shortened spring season. The other part is getting in rugby shape, which he shouldn’t have too many issues getting into.

    Then he just has to learn that breaking fingers and noses is just the norm and you just keep playing.

  13. Most of the So Called, “Football Athletes” I saw when I played Rugby, Had 3 major flaws:
    They wouldn’t pass the ball, except in desperation to avoid a hit!
    They would run out of bounds rather than take a hit.
    And they couldn’t/wouldn’t tackle!
    They are only functional on the Wing.

  14. Good luck, Maurice. Everybody deserves a chance to get their lives straight.

    And to the guy who said bad things about Ohio, why not go there first, then comment. Personally, I live in paradise (i.e., the Pacific Northwest), but I’ve spent time in Ohio and it’s great, too.

  15. What’s with the hate? The guy made some mistakes and wasted his talent in his early 20s. Maybe he can get his life together now and represent his country at the Olympic level. Hate! Hate! Hate!

  16. Also, I played men’s club rugby for years and reached the national championship once, and competed against US 7’s players. Any posters saying the US will field a side of athletes that are NFL caliber is effing’ dreaming. If he can learn the game, his talent would be a great asset

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