Clarett withdraws early release request


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Former Ohio State football star Maurice Clarett has withdrawn a request for early
release from prison so he could pursue an NFL career.
Clarett had argued that the sooner he was released, the sooner he could make a comeback, possibly in the
NFL. But he sent a letter Monday to the Ohio Parole Board explaining his decision to withdraw the
request, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman JoEllen Culp said Wednesday.
Parole board records are not public. A message left with Clarett’s lawyer, Percy Squire, was not
immediately returned.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien had opposed the move, saying the former Buckeyes standout hasn’t
made a strong case to be released so early in his prison term.
"It probably was a reality check by both Mr. Clarett and his lawyer that they had no chance of
obtaining clemency under the circumstances," O’Brien said Wednesday.
Clarett, 25, was sentenced in September 2006 to serve at least 3½ years for a holdup outside a Columbus
bar and a separate highway chase earlier that year that ended with police finding loaded guns in his
O’Brien’s office agreed to the 3½-year term on the grounds Clarett behaved himself in prison.
Clarett could be out in March if a judge releases him early, although he would still have to spend six
months in a halfway house.
Squire previously said Clarett had an opportunity to play NFL, arena or Canadian professional football if
he was released within the next few months. O’Brien said it appeared Clarett wanted to be released in
time to play football in Canada this year in preparation for a possible return to the NFL in 2010.
The former tailback led the Buckeyes to the 2002 national championship.
Clarett stirred controversy in December 2002 by criticizing Ohio State officials for not allowing him to
fly home to Youngstown for the funeral of a friend.
But on Jan. 3, 2003, he provided the winning touchdown against Miami, giving Ohio State its first
national title in 34 years.
The following September he was suspended by the university for violating NCAA rules. He later
unsuccessfully challenged the NFL’s eligibility rules.
The Denver Broncos drafted Clarett in the third round in 2005, but he was hurt in training camp and cut
without playing a down.
In his latest blog posting, Clarett did not address his parole request.
"I’m a man and I struggle," he wrote on the blog Monday. "I’m not speaking of anything
specific. I’m just talking in general. Depression comes and depression goes."
Clarett, housed at a Toledo prison, phones the blog entries to relatives who post them.

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