Tuesday, September 19, 2006 - The Michigan Daily - 11
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - When the day
comes that Maurice Clarett can be released from
prison three-and-a-half years from now, the
former Ohio State football star's life story will
hardly have been told in full.
If his lockup ends on the earliest possible date,
Clarett, who struck an unexpected plea deal
Monday for robbery and concealed weapons
charges, will be all of 26 years old. His 8-week-
old daughter, who was present for his sentencing,
will not yet have turned four.
' "It's in a range that will allow him to get his
life back together after his release," Prosecutor
Ron O'Brien said.
Judge David Fais announced the agreement
on the day Clarett's aggravated robbery trial was
to begin. He was sentenced to seven-and-a-half
years, with release possible after three-and-a-
half years, and five years of probation.
A bearded Clarett, wearing handcuffs and
jail-issue clothing, remained expressionless
throughout Monday's hearing.
"I'd like to apologize for my behavior, and I
accept the time that was given to me," Clarett said
when asked if he wished to address the court.
After the judge accepted the deal, Clarett
looked over at his mother in the first row of
the gallery. She was sobbing and holding his
infant daughter while sitting next to his girl-
Minutes later, one of his attorneys summed up
Clarett's saga - from the time he was one of col-
lege football's brightest stars to the day he began
life as an inmate.
"He was up here," Michael Hoague said, rais-
ing his arm up to eye level. "He got down here,"
he said, lowering his arm to his waist. "And he's
going to be back up here again."
The 22-year-old Clarett has almost nowhere
to go but up after Monday's appearance in
Franklin County Common Pleas Court, where
jury selection was set to begin in a case in
which he was accused of holding up two peo-
ple outside a bar.
The concealed-weapon charge was from
Clarett's Aug. 9 arrest after a highway chase with
police, who found four loaded guns in Clarett's
sport utility vehicle. They stopped him by spik-
ing his tires, then used pepper spray to subdue
and handcuff Clarett, who was wearing a bullet-
Former Ohio State tailback Maurice Clarett will do a minimum of three years in prison after striking a
plea agreement for robbery and concealed weapons charges.
Had Clarett been convicted on all charg-
es, he would have faced three to 34 years in
prison. Assistant Prosecutor Tim Mitchell
said he expects Clarett will serve just over
four years, with his last six months spent at a
As a freshman tailback, Clarett led Ohio State
to the 2002 national championship, scoring the
winning touchdown in the second overtime in
the title game against Miami. That was the last
time he played for the Buckeyes, and his life has
spiraled out of control ever since.
He was suspended for lying to NCAA
investigators before the 2003 season and
dropped out of school. He lost a U.S.
Supreme Court case challenging the NFL's
requirement that players wait three years
after high school before turning pro. The
Denver Broncos made Clarett a surprise
third-round pick in the NFL's 2005 draft,
only to cut him during the preseason.
"It's really a shame that someone puts them-
selves in that position," Broncos coach Mike
Shanahan said Monday. "I'm just hoping when
he does get out that he's learned his lesson and
comes back with a mind-set that he's going to be
productive (in society)"
Authorities said Clarett flashed a gun and
robbed two people of a cell phone early Jan. 1.
He turned himself in around the time that many
of his former Buckeyes teammates were putting
the finishing touches on a Fiesta Bowl victory
over Notre Dame.
Clarett had been drinking heavily on New
Year's Eve, Hoague said. But the attorney did not
explain why Clarett had a gun in his waistband.
"Obviously, that was a bad decision," Hoague
Clarett's attorneys said the guns police found
in the SUV belonged to Clarett and came from
his mother's house. They said he had the guns
because he was trying to give them to acquain-
tances to hold for him, but the attorneys did not
A victims' assistant from the prosecutor's
office read a statement from the robbery
victims, who said the ordeal has been hard
on all aspects of their lives.
"Mr. Clarett, we hope you will use this
opportunity to help someone along the
way," the statement said.
His attorneys said they hoped Clarett's hopes
of playing pro football are not dashed.
"There are institutions in Ohio that actually
have opportunities to work out and train for foot-
ball and other athletics," Hoague said. "We're
hoping he can do that, and stay in shape and be
focused on that."
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