Omaha Nighthawks: Maurice Clarett Signed to Active Roster

Dennis Tresca@dtrescaCorrespondent IJuly 7, 2011

TEMPE, AZ - JANUARY 3:  Running back Maurice Clarett #13 of the Ohio State Buckeyes finds a hole against the University of Miami Hurricanes during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium on January 3, 2003 in Tempe, Arizona.  Ohio State won the game 31-24 in double-overtime, winning the NCAA National Championship.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

According to the Associated Press, Maurice Clarett has been signed to the Omaha Nighthawks' active roster.

The 5'11", 220 lb Ohio State running back is trying to work his way back to relevance.  After an amazing freshman year with the Buckeyes, in which he rushed for 1,237 yards and 18 TDs, Clarett could not stay out of trouble.  He argued with coaches (sometimes during games), blamed school officials for not paying him for flying home to attend a friend's funeral and most notably was involved with an alleged academic scandal.  

The University finally had enough with Clarett and released him in 2003 after filing a falsified police report, claiming he had lost over $10,000 in items stolen from a car he had borrowed from a local dealership.

Unable to enter the Draft until 2005, due to the NFL's rule that a player must wait three years after high school before declaring for the draft, Clarett performed poorly in the combine and, to everyone's surprise, was still drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 3rd round (#101 overall). However, on August 28, 2005 Clarett was released on waivers after never playing in a single preseason game and several incidents with his coaches.  No NFL teams expressed any interest in taking a chance on him.  His NFL career tanked before it even got started.

On January 2, 2006, Clarett turned himself in to police in Columbus, Ohio for his involvement in two armed robberies. He would eventually agree to a plea bargain and was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison with the possibility of early release at three-and-a-half years. On April 7, 2010, Clarett was given his early release and was ordered to spend the next six months in a halfway house.

On August 30, 2010, Maurice Clarett was signed by the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League (UFL) after impressing the team during his workouts. He would spend the season as the team's second-string running back behind local favorite Ahman Green and served as the primary kick and punt returner.  Clarett worked hard during the season and showed improvement game-to-game.  The coaching staff continued to be impressed with his work ethic and his new attitude. The return to professional football had a successful start.

Today's re-signing of Clarett is proof of that success.  The coaching staff has shown that they are completely confident in his abilities.  He has a very good shot at being the #1 running back going into the season and showing the world what he can still do on the field. Omaha, arguably the best fan-base in the UFL, will stand behind him all the way.

Everyone deserves a second chance, but it is what a person does with that chance that defines their character.  So far, Maurice is doing a fine job.