Clarett signed with the Nighthawks after a tryout in August (Photo courtesy of United Football League).
Former Ohio State Star Finds Home in the United Football League
Not long ago, former Ohio State tailback Maurice Clarett was unsure what the future held for him, but he likely thought the game of football was no longer in the cards. Years removed from playing, a tryout in August for the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League (UFL) then came and presented him an unexpected opportunity to fill the void in his life left by its absence.
“It feels good, and I’m doing something I love,” Clarett said of returning to the gridiron. “I think that goes for anybody in the world anywhere - if you are doing something you love and you are having fun doing it.”
While he is happy to return normalcy to his life by means of playing the game he loves, Clarett admits that shaking off the rust has brought some difficulties with it.
“It has been like any other transition, it had its difficulties,” he stated. “As of right now, I believe I am good. I have been away from the game for a while, so starting off, things were moving kind of fast. But after being here for five/six weeks, I understand the playbook and what the coaches expect out of us, and I am back into football shape. I’ve taken care of my body and my mind, and (I’m) doing things in order for us to win.”
Something that can definitely help in that transition is the help of some savvy veterans, and Clarett has two of the best in Omaha with quarterback Jeff Garcia and tailback Ahman Green.
“From day one, Ahman and Jeff have, not only with me, made themselves accessible with any question people may have,” Clarett remarked. “I think those two guys, along with a couple others, have the most professional experience. They give a certain tempo and leadership. They help me in every way possible, and I talk to them daily. It’s good to have those types of players on your team.”
When Clarett played at Ohio State, he helped lead the Buckeyes to the 2003 NCAA National Championship in his lone year of college football. The screams of rambunctious fans echoed throughout a packed Ohio Stadium every time Clarett played at home, and he now finds himself in front of another group of rowdy spectators in Omaha.
“The support in Omaha resembles the support in Ohio State,” he said. “I didn’t realize the support was ever this big besides Ohio State until I got out here. They come out faithfully dressed in silver and black. They support us like never before. Throughout the community, they are excited for us to be here. We have two wins right now, and the crowd is happy we are here. From a player standpoint, you can’t ask for too much more. You have fan support, so you feel their energy.”
While he is fully taking advantage of his newfound opportunity with the game of football, Clarett insists that he will not allow himself to overlook what he has to get done each day.
“I take things day by day. I don’t get too ahead of myself,” he commented. “I just understand my responsibilities of where I am right now. I am just living in the moment. I have personal goals that I keep to myself and private. As long as I’m putting in the work I need to put in and contribute to the team and become a better player, I will be satisfied. But like I said, it is a day by day process and focus on the task at hand. And just stay focused on the moment.”