Maurice Clarett's Last Call, Possibly, As a Free Man

Recently Unstable Behavior

Who knew Clarett had an assault rifle with him the whole time? Or a 9mm gun between his legs? Or that he had a hatchet? Who knew the next morning I'd wake up and hear he was under custody on alleged weapons charges, that he'd been Maced and tasered, that he'd been wearing a bulletproof vest, that he'd probably been wearing it as we spoke?

His attorney, Mike Hoague, came out Wednesday and said that Clarett has recently received death threats, verbal and written, and, suddenly, his pattern of behavior all seemed to make more sense. The people who know him say he's been alternately strong and unstable recently, that the stress of his court case and his baby girl and his uncertain future have him all over the emotional map.

Does someone really want to hurt him? Is someone bugging his phone? Or is he just delusional? Whichever, you've got to go back to last year, to the mess of Los Angeles.

After Ohio State booted him out of school, he went to L.A., where he befriended members of the rap community, manager types. They liked Clarett; he had an easy giggle, and a face they'd seen in the Fiesta Bowl end zone. He was their ticket to the world of sports, and they were his ticket to a lush lifestyle. Hell, he was broke, and they were driving BMWs and living in beachfront property. This was right up Clarett's alley.

He was one of these kids who'd always looked for shortcuts. His mom, Michelle, had worked long hours at a Sears in Youngstown, Ohio, just to support her family, but he found out early that football brought him all the love and cash he could handle. A caterer named Bobby Dellimuti provided a car, and other amenities, and soon, according to Clarett, Ohio State coaches and boosters had done the same. Clarett wasn't too proud to have his hand out. It's who he was.

But in L.A., it was the last thing he needed. He was spotted driving a 745 BMW and living in a mansion, when he should've been training for the NFL. The people in the rap world were sponsoring him, figuring he'd bring them back millions after he went in the first round, but what did they know? Did they know his 40 time?

Peculiar Work Habits and Early Sign of Insecurity

The first trainer they hooked him up with, in the fall of 2004, was Chad Ikei, out of Arizona. Clarett was 256 pounds by then. A 256-pound tailback! And he had the most peculiar work habits.

"He actually wanted me to shut the gym down, so nobody could train when he was training, so he could focus and get in his intensity level, and all that,'' Ikei told me earlier this year. "I'm like 'You going to tell Coach Green someday at the Arizona Cardinals that nobody can work out when you're working out?' ''

His insecurity was mind-boggling. The harder Ikei pushed Clarett, the more Clarett sulked, and, ultimately, he quit.

"The day he quit, we were on a high school track," Ikei said. "He ran one lap, and these kids came out for PE class, and he was like, 'I'm not running in front of all these kids. It's embarrassing.' I said, 'What do you mean? For what? Who cares? He was like, 'Well, baseball season's not in, football season's going on right now, I'm too short and stocky to be a basketball player, so obviously these kids are going to know I'm not playing in the NFL or I'm not doing anything important.' I'm like, 'Who cares?'

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