Clarett passed on chance to meet Allen

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 6, 2003

WARREN, Ohio -- Not even a Hall of Fame running back can catch up with Maurice Clarett these days.

Clarett, Ohio State's enigmatic tailback at the center of investigations, didn't show up for an arranged meeting with newly inducted Hall of Famer Marcus Allen, Clarett's high school coach said.

Coach Thom McDaniels had helped set up the Sunday evening meeting with Allen, who was enshrined into the Hall earlier that day.

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''Marcus wanted to meet him,'' McDaniels said. ''He thought he might be able to enlighten him, help him and direct him in a path that perhaps Marcus has already gone down.

''Maurice just needed to be where he needed to be. He didn't even call us.''

Allen declined to comment on the proposed meeting during Monday night's Pro Football Hall of Fame game. McDaniels said Allen had set aside an hour -- shortly after the enshrinement ceremony -- for the meeting at a downtown hotel.

Clarett is being investigated by the university for his academic performance and whether he broke any laws by giving police false information about items he reported stolen from a car.

The NCAA has also inquired about the star running back's amateur status.

In the meantime, Ohio State is keeping Clarett from practicing with the defending national champion Buckeyes until the inquiries are concluded.

On Tuesday, Clarett's attorney, Scott Schiff, said the sophomore running back is eager to put the turmoil behind him.

''I think it's time to avoid the distractions and work toward Maurice getting back on the field and playing college football,'' Schiff said.

McDaniels feels his former player made a mistake by passing up the chance to get some helpful advice from one of the NFL's all-time greats.

''It's very disappointing,'' McDaniels said. ''I think it was a blown opportunity for Maurice to meet someone who knows more than him and has been to a place where Maurice wants to go.''

McDaniels said he speaks with Clarett regularly but had not heard from him yet.

''When he knows I'm mad at him, I won't hear from him,'' McDaniels said.

One of Clarett's former teammates at Ohio State said the 19-year-old is being targeted by the media and others.

''Give the guy a break,'' Green Bay defensive end Kenny Peterson said following Monday night's Hall of Fame game. ''Let him go to school and let him play. Everybody is trying to pick at it now -- they all want that big story. Let him alone.''