For better or worse, Maurice Clarett always wanted to do things a little bit outside the box, and now, the troubled former Ohio State running back is trying his hand at a different sport: he wants to play rugby in the 2016 Olympics, where a seven-man variant of the sport will make its Olympic debut.
Clarett's goal isn't exactly a likely one: as the article by RugbyMag.com points out, Clarett has literally no rugby experience. He's joining up with the Tiger Rugby Olympic Development Club, conveniently located in Columbus, the same place he went to college, in hopes he can learn the sport over the next three ears. He's hoping his
When he was in playing shape, Clarett was a monster: 5'11, 220 pounds, and fast, something that will translate to any sport where there's a lot of running and hitting. Clarett is a long, long way removed from his competitive football days. After storming out as a freshman to a 1,000 yard season and a win in the national championship game, he was, in short order, dismissed from the team, prevented from joining the NFL before he was three years out of high school, cut by the Denver Broncos when he finally made it to the NFL, and was arrested several times. However, he did play in the UFL, a minor league, in 2010.
Although rugby has amassed a certain amount of popularity in the US, generally as a club sport, there isn't a major professional league, so Clarett's elite athleticism could help him gain a spot even if he isn't a lifelong rugby player. We'll make no promises about America's chances against countries where the sport is much more popular.
Rugby is, of course, quite different from American football, although there are many similarities - moving an oblong ball down a field with the intention of reaching an end zone before being tackled. Big differences include the fact that the ball can't be passed forward, only kicked, and the fact that players aren't substituted out for offense and defense - although judging from his famous play in the National Championship game, that's not an issue for Clarett. Here's to seeing him figure it out, and hopefully be a part of a US team in Rio de Janeiro.
This story originally appeared on SBNation.com.