About four hours before Maurice Clarett was arrested on Tuesday night, he made a call to ESPN the Magazine’s Tom Friend. Friend shares the nature of that phone call – and a lot of other stuff you probably didn’t know about Maurice Clarett – here in this incredible ESPN.com article.
You’re not going to find much better reads than this one, and somewhere in here might be the reason that Clarett had four loaded guns, a bulletproof vest, and a bottle of Goose. I’ll see if I can hit the high points for you, but you really should read it for yourself.
• Clarett, after Ohio State kicked him out, moved to LA and lived with some rich people involved in the rap industry. They set him up with cars, trainers, money, an easy life, anything he wanted.
• He neglected any and all training for his upcoming NFL career
• Clarett is massively, massively insecure and self-conscious
• He quit on one trainer, and then asked to be hooked up with the guy who was training David Boston, he of the unnatural strength and physique
• In Denver, he carried around a water bottle full of Grey Goose with him at all times
• He got into an argument with the Denver strength coach, and demanded to the GM that the strength coach be fired. When he wasn’t fired, Clarett then demanded a trade. Before he had signed a rookie contract
• He turned down a $416,000 signing bonus, for an incentive-laden deal that paid him for 1,000-yard seasons and Pro Bowls. He got cut, and did not make any money.
• He went back to Ohio, and, you’d have to assume, owed some people back in LA some money
• He recently had a daughter
• His agent claimed that he had received death threats
• He told Friend he’d do anything to protect his daughter, saying he’d go to jail for 30 years if he had to
• He made a series of phone calls that night, to Friend, to Jim Tressell, and to LeBron James, thanking all of them
• And shortly after was arrested
Pretty easy to connect the dots there. Maybe some of it was in his head, maybe the guy just simply had some mental problems (something the Sports Frog was talking about back in ’03). But it’s certainly a compelling theory, and is as close to ‘believable’ as anything is going to get in this story.
This is the most bizarre and surreal sports story since OJ Simpson. It may be the only thing that’s happened in my lifetime that even comes close to OJ, in terms of just sheer unbelievability. The arrest itself was so sensational and bizarre, but the picture painted by that outstanding Tom Friend article just pushes it to an entirely new level. It’s absolutely surreal. Maurice Clarett being a screw-up is one thing. This is a damn Greek tragedy.