Supreme Court next step for wanna-be draftee?

NEW YORK -- A federal appeals court has rejected running
back Maurice Clarett's long-shot bid to get the court to reconsider
his lawsuit challenging the NFL's eligibility rule for the draft.

Lawyers on both sides were told this week that the 2nd U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals had rejected a request for a rare
rehearing by all 11 judges. The former Ohio State player must now
decide whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In May, a three-judge appeals panel said federal labor policy
allows NFL teams to set rules for when players can enter the
league, stopping Clarett from entering the NFL draft.

A telephone message seeking comment was left Friday for
Clarett's lawyer, Alan Milstein. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the
league had no comment.

A lower court judge in February ruled Clarett eligible for the
draft, saying the NFL violated federal antitrust laws with its rule
barring eligibility until a player was three years out of high

Clarett was only two years out of high school at the time. He
will be eligible for the draft in April no matter what happens in

Clarett rushed for 1,237 yards and 16 touchdowns as a freshman
in 2002, leading the Buckeyes to the national championship. He was
suspended before the 2003 season for accepting money from a family
friend and lying about it to NCAA and Ohio State investigators.