Former Buckeye, convict and now semi-professional football player Maurice Clarett spoke to a sports radio station on Tuesday, sharing his thoughts on a number of issues, including the controversy swirling around Ohio State, the departure of Terrelle Pryor and college athletes accepting improper benefits.
Clarett, who helped lead Ohio State to a national championship in 2002, left the program under clouds of controversy involving money and other benefits. After his career in the NFL floundered, the running back was sentenced to prison for armed robbery.
"You've got to realize I was 19 at the time. When you're 19, you're mad at the world," Clarett told Omaha radio station 1629 The Zone. "Everything's taken away from you in part because of some of the things that I did to myself, taking illegal benefits and things like that."
During the interview on Tuesday, Clarett, who is now playing for the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League, said he just wanted to offer advice to current Ohio State football players. He also spoke of Pryor, saying he is a young man with a lot of growing up left to do.
"The best thing I can do is some of the things that took place for me in my career and the mistakes I made. Like I said, just come back in and offer them to Terrelle or some of the young guys," he said.
"When I talk to Terrelle, it's more or less, 'I don't want you to go down the same road I did.' I don't get into what took place at Ohio State, but I understand the mistakes I made after I left Ohio State. I don't want to see him do some of the things I did," he said.
Clarett also talked about the issue of college players accepting improper benefits. He said officials should consider offering performance-based stipends as a method for eliminating the problem.
"If you gave them kids $30,000, $20,000, there wouldn't be any situations where they'd be having illegal benefits or having to take things," Clarett said. "They try to say, 'Well, every program is not the same. Well, that's life.' Everybody doesn't get paid the same."
Clarett said his stipend at Ohio State was $1,100 a month, and he said it is easy for some players to be enticed by the offers of extra cash.
Clarett was also asked about the recent appointment of Luke Fickell as head coach. He said the Buckeyes would not miss a beat.
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