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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Maurice Clarett's in big trouble - accused of robbery

Maurice Clarett, who was the favored draft pick of this blogger, got into big trouble, and I can only hope it's a case of mistaken identity. Another thing: this is Columbus, Ohio at night -- the bartender could have made a mistake. It wasn't the people who claimed they were robbed. Plus, why didn't the bartender see him in the bar. Read's as fishy to me. He entered a "not guilty" plea, so that tells you something.

Here's the report below; for my take on his being drafted by the Denver Broncos, click on the title of this post.

By ERICA RYAN Associated Press Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio Jan 3, 2006 — Former Ohio State football star Maurice Clarett appeared in court in handcuffs and jail-issue clothing Tuesday when a judge set bond at $50,000 on charges that he robbed two people with a gun in an alley behind a bar.

Clarett, who helped the Buckeyes win the national championship in 2002, will have to post 10 percent of the bond set by Franklin County Municipal Judge Amy Salerno. He did not enter a plea and did not speak in court. His next hearing is Jan. 12.

"We are looking forward to investigating the allegations," Clarett's attorney, William Seppina, said outside court. "That's all I can say."

Each of the two charges of aggravated robbery carries a possible sentence of three to 10 years.

After spending the better part of two days wanted by police, Clarett surrendered Monday night, about the time the fourth-ranked Buckeyes were completing a 34-20 win over No. 5 Notre Dame in Tempe, Ariz., for their third Fiesta Bowl victory in four years.

The 22-year-old Clarett was wanted since early Sunday, when police said he flashed a gun and demanded property from a man and a woman behind the Opium Lounge in downtown Columbus.

Police said he fled with two men in a sport utility vehicle after he was identified by the bar owner, who happened to come out into the alley. No one was injured, and only a cell phone was taken from the alleged victims, police said.

Clarett sat out the 2003 season when he was charged with lying to police about the value of items stolen from a car he borrowed. He later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

Ohio State suspended Clarett for misleading investigators, and for receiving special benefits worth thousands of dollars from a family friend.

Clarett also unsuccessfully challenged the NFL's requirement that players wait three years after high school before turning pro in a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court. He was chosen by the Denver Broncos in last year's draft, but the team cut him in August.

Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel said the day before the Fiesta Bowl that he had recently spoken with Clarett about playing in Europe.

Purge Monday in the NFL

Some call it "Black Monday" but I prefer to call it "Purge Monday" in the NFL. Yesterday was the day that several team coaches -- and one executive -- were fired. Some of the releases were expected; others not.

Let's start with the surprise firiing of popular Green Bay Packers coach Mike Sherman. Earlier in the year, he was given a vote of confidence by Packers brass and QB Brett Farve said he would not come back if Sherman was let go. I personally think you should not change coaches one year after bringing in a high number one draft pick at quarterback. If the Packers don't retain the same offensive system it will be a huge managerial mistake.

The other terminations were of Mike Tice with the Vikings, Dom Capers with the Texans, Steve Marriucci with the Lions, and Jim Haslett with the New Orleans Saints. The Saints' Katrina-impacted season was not Haslett's fault. But it did seem as if he was about to totally lose it several times at press conferences rather than maintain a much-needed leveling cool.

Today, The Oakland Raiders are expected to annouce the firing of their head Norv Turner. NFL Network reports that he's already cleaning out his office after two short years.

The Cleveland Browns reportedly fired their GM Phil Savage and just one year after they hired him away from the Baltimore Ravens, claiming him a kind of boy wonder. There's more to that story, so stay tuned.

Will the Houston Texans be the latest NFL team to skirt the "Rooney Rule" regarding the selection of minority head coaches?

Last week, ESPN's John Clayton reported that Ex-Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos coach Dan Reeves could be the next coach of the Houston Texans, or at least play a role in selecting the team's second leader.

Now, NFL Network -- via a news conference with Broncos' Head Coach Mike Shanahan -- tells us that the Texans are to interview Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak.

For those who don't know the name, Kubiak was originally a backup quarterback with the Dallas Cowboys while Reeves was Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator under Tom Landry. Then he was brought into the Broncos organization when Reeves was head coach. Now, he's being eyed for his first head coaching job -- this one with the Houston Texans.

What bothers me are two things: that with all of the black players around him, Reeves chooses to be mentor to a white player who's skill was marginal at best, and that this person's being pushed toward the Texans as a head coaching candidate.

What really steam me is that Bob McNair -- the owner of the Houston Texans and a person I have the utmost respect for -- is allowing this to happen, or at least the perception that it is going on.

What also bugs me is that very bright African American minds like that of Bengals Wide Receiver Coach Hue Jackson are not even being considered for head coaching jobs. Think about it.

Here's Hue Jackson, who's served as offensive coordinator for Steve Marriucci at Cal, then at USC, then offensive coordinator under Steve Spurrier when he was with the Washington Redskins. Think about it. Hue's absorbed more information on state of the art passing systems than anyone. Yet, we don't here his name.

That's stupid. It's also exemplary of how racism and prejudice blocks out society from elevating the truly best and brightest to the level of boss. Thus, it can be argued that our system has not reached its lofty potential.

I'm glad I learned programming and coding on the Internet, because I have little faith in society -- even as I have a lot in the Lord.

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