"I told him right there, 'No one knows who you are here anyway. So who cares?' He was like, 'No, no, no.' And what made it worse, though, was when we were leaving, these two or three kids came running all the way out to the parking lot. 'Mr. Clarett, Mr. Clarett, can we get your autograph? And he smiles and signs these pieces of paper and then turns to me and is like, 'Well, you said nobody knows me. These people knew me.' I'm going 'The only reason they know you is because you're on ESPN f------ everything up for Ohio State and everybody else.' " So Clarett quit right then and there. "Maurice was like, 'Just give me what David Boston was getting, and I'll do whatever,' " Ikei says. "He wanted an easy route out. I said, 'You want David Boston's trainer? Here's the guy's number.' "
So Clarett quickly switched to Boston's guru, Charles Poliquin, who denies supplying Clarett with HGH or steroids. (Boston has been suspended by the NFL after testing positive for steroids). Poliquin and Clarett teamed up for six weeks in Phoenix, but it fell apart when Clarett wanted to move back to L.A., back closer to his rap friends. "I don't know why, he was living nice in Phoenix,'' Poliquin told me earlier this year. "They gave him the latest Beemer. Whoever was sponsoring him was giving him a real nice, plush life. He was driving better cars than five-year veterans of the NFL. I told his people, 'Make the guy take the bus and stay at Motel 6.'
"And he partied too much, oh yeah. When he didn't report back after the Christmas holidays, we found out he was drunk as a skunk in New Orleans. We kept calling his people, 'When is he going to be back? When is he going to be back?' Because he's the type of guy, if you're not on his ass every day, he'll gain three pounds of fat a day. But there's not a lot of guys that want to play pro football when they have a team of money men backing them up. I mean, he was living in Malibu. Right on the beach. You walked out of the house, and there you were on the beach. I've been to the house. It's a nice place. The guy owned like 10 cars and said, pick whatever car you want.
"And he was training at, I don't know, L.A. Sports Club. One of those stars, rich-and-famous gym. Which I told him you can't train [there]. It's a gym for the young and pretty, but you can't get strong, you know. When I was there, there were a bunch of guys from the TV series '24,' and actors and rappers. I would say Maurice was a classic case of Hollywood fever. Among the rich and famous, and he thought he was there with 'em.''
By the 2005 NFL Combine, Clarett was too slow to turn any heads, and his only blessing was that Broncos coach Mike Shanahan was arrogant enough to think he could save him. Shanahan thinks the system makes the back, instead of vice versa, so he picked Clarett in the third round and found out the hard way.
The minute Clarett arrived in Denver, the team began to sour on him. At the airport, before flying from Colorado to the rookie symposium, he frantically called the Broncos, saying he'd left a brief case in his airport limo. But there was no brief case in there, just a water bag he always carried around. That's all right, he said, he wanted it.