Clarett needs strong personal workout

Maurice Clarett, who was hoping to be a Buckeye-for-a-day next week, has been barred from Ohio State's "Pro Day" workouts on March 9.

Clarett ran two inferior 40-yard dashes at the NFL combine and preferred to run again for pro scouts next week in Columbus, alongside several of his former college teammates. But, according to one of Clarett's agents, Josh Luchs, Ohio State nixed it because Clarett is no longer enrolled at the school and hasn't played for the Buckeyes within the last year.

"I spoke with Steve Snapp," Luchs said, referring to the Ohio State sports information director, "and he said they would not allow Maurice to participate, because, first and foremost, he does not meet their criteria. And then he said, 'Look, we wish him well, but we also feel it would be a distraction for the other players who are trying to showcase their talents for NFL teams.' Well, the last thing Maurice wants to do is be a detriment to the other players. Out of respect to them, we accept and understand their position, and are going to do it elsewhere."

Snapp had not returned telephone messages as of Thursday afternoon.

Under the NFL's guidelines, players can either work out for pro scouts at their college or in their hometown. As a result of the Ohio State decision, Clarett likely will work out in the greater Youngstown area, where he grew up, possibly on April 1. That day, quarterback Charlie Frye is scheduled to work out for NFL personnel at the University of Akron, and, after that workout, Clarett's agents, Steve Feldman and Luchs, intend to bus the pro scouts 50 miles to Clarett's session in Youngstown.

"We understand NFL people have a lot of travel to do, to see these prospects at their private workouts," Luchs said."So we'd like to select April 1 to make it as easy as possible for these NFL teams, many of which will be in Akron."

Clarett made several miscalculations at the recent combine and hopes to rectify those at his private workout. He had originally bulked up to impress the scouts that week, but was too heavy, and, after a crash diet, ran disappointing times of 4.82 and then 4.72. After his poor 40 times, he refused to partake in any more workouts, to the dismay of NFL coaches and general managers. He's projected now as a sixth- or seventh-round pick, if he's drafted at all, and that's why his next workout is of dire importance. He is already back in training, with a speed coach, in Southern California.

Clarett had originally mentioned at the combine that he wanted to run at Ohio State, but it clearly would have turned into a circus. In November, Clarett accused Ohio State of academic and financial improprieties, and it has led to an ongoing NCAA investigation.

But Clarett has said he made those claims to clear his name with NFL executives, that he would have stayed quiet if head coach Jim Tressel and athletic director Andy Geiger had not "bashed" him to the NFL. He has since said he harbors no ill will toward the school and, in a conversation with ESPN The Magazine before the combine, Clarett said he hoped the war of words between him and Ohio State would stop.

"Can we all quit?" he said. "Let's cease. I don't want to be known as a troublemaker anymore. I don't want to be known as an ass. I just want to stop. It hurts so bad. My feelings are being overshadowed by the story. It's to the point I'm not 'me' anymore; I'm a machine. I'm a story. I'm a big ball of controversy. And I want it to quit."

Tom Friend is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. E-mail him at tom.friend@espnmag.com.