Maurice Clarett is trying to become an Omaha Nighthawk. That’s not a misprint. That’s not a typo or some bad information passed onto me by a drunk source in a bar, written on a cocktail napkin. As I sit here looking at the words that I have just printed across the computer screen I can’t help but think of 1,100 O.J. jokes that don’t need mentioning. My fingers ache with untyped Lawrence Phillips references. I love a good “Convicted Felon” joke, and Omaha is now setting itself up perfectly to be my new favorite one. Thunder Collins. I had to write it. It’s something I cannot resist mentioning at every turn.
You all might remember Clarett, despite the fact that he’s been irrelevant for the last few years. He’s the guy that had so much potential. The guy that battered defenses across the country as a true freshman at Ohio State in 2002, looked like a smaller version of Adrian Peterson in college, and led his team to a national championship over an extremely talented Miami team. He’s also the guy that railed on school officials for not getting his way, accepted more illegal items than a crooked customs agent, and shit away what looked to be a promising career.
Clarett’s career at Ohio State ended abruptly, with “The Sweater Vest” and company sending him packing. He then took his smash-mouth mentality to the courtroom where he was summarily smashed in the mouth. Clarett challenged the ruling that the NFL had recently passed that required all players to be at least 3 years out of college in order to enter the draft. Clarett lost the ruling and spent the remaining time before he was draft eligible packing on the lbs. He ran a hot 4.82 40 yard dash, a mere .08 seconds faster than Ndamukong Suh at this year’s combine, and issued perhaps the most definitive statement on his intelligence when he was quoted later as saying, “It’s a humbling thing being humble.”
Clarett somehow swindled his way onto an NFL roster, where he reportedly would get liquored up in the locker room before practice claiming he needed to get “Slizzered on the Goose.” He was dismissed from the team and even though most would agree he was at rock bottom, Clarett started digging. He was arrested multiple times in the years that followed and his “arrests per year” quickly became the most impressive stat of his career. His final arrest occurred in 2006, in which he lead police on a wild car chase in which he drove over spike strips, was found to be in possession of a samurai sword and multiple automatic weapons (and of course a bottle of “the Goose”), and due to being clothed in a kevlar vest was both tasered and maced by police after spitting in their faces. Where did all of this mayhem and carnage occur? In what was undoubtedly a complete coincidence: a few blocks away from the woman’s house set to testify against him on earlier charges. Needless to say, his career seemed to have officially flatlined.
In comes the UFL: the defibrillator of sports leagues. Determined to get publicity in any way possible, the league has revived more of the dead than a zombie plague. “Dawn of the Dead” has less zombies than a UFL team. The Omaha Nighthawks are more than willing to give anyone and everyone a second chance. With Jeff Garcia at QB and former Husker legend Ahman Green at starting running back, the team is loaded with “has-beens” looking to give the NFL a final F.U. Clarett will fight right in in that regard.
Maurice will have a lot of obstacles to overcome. First he has to get a court order allowing him to even leave the state. He’ll have to adjust to the level of UFL competition instead of his Ohio Penal League Flag Football games. He’ll also have to deal with drunk a-holes (read: me) in the stands shouting, “Time to get slizzered on the Goose” everytime he touches the football.
Will Clarett fit in with Omaha’s team? With Nebraska’s culture? Will he be able to stay away from the liquor store long enough to take the ball from Jeff Garcia’s ancient hands? Time will tell. Until then, I say that any publicity for the Nighthawks is a good thing. I say, at least he’s not Lawrence Phillips. I say, oh what the hell. . .I just don’t want him to come after me with a ninja sword and an assault rifle if he does move here. Good luck, Clarett.