After slow times, Clarett quits drills

Updated: February 28, 2005, 3:08 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- A federal appeals court kept Maurice Clarett out of the 2004 NFL draft. This time around, the former Ohio State standout tailback could keep himself from being chosen in the 2005 lottery.

Maurice Clarett
AP Photo/Darron CummingsIt was slow going (unofficially) for Maurice Clarett on Saturday at the combine in Indianapolis.

Clarett, who was hoping to improve his stock with NFL scouts, squandered his latest shot at redemption on Saturday afternoon, posting sluggish performances in the 40-yard dash. According to the unofficial times, Clarett ran 4.72 seconds and 4.82 seconds in his two efforts. Because he was not among the five fastest, no official time was provided.

How slow are those times? By comparison, four offensive line prospects, all weighing more than 300 pounds, were clocked faster than five seconds.

"It's a rough day," said Clarett, who has not played in a game since Ohio State claimed the 2003 national championship. "I prepared 20 times harder than a year ago. I worked to get ready for this day. To totally bust it ... well, it's frustrating."

While he still has time to prepare for a personal workout on March 8, there is now some sense that Clarett, who earlier this week seemed enthused about another chance to prove himself to talent evaluators, might go undrafted. Even with a good performance, he might have been only a middle-round selection, particularly given his long layoff.

Clarett took part in some of the early drills during the running back session at the RCA Dome. After running his 40s, he pulled on his sweatshirt and opted not to finish the rest of the drills. When he appeared in an interview with the NFL Network after the poor times, Clarett appeared to be distraught at his performance.

The scouts quickly surveyed by ESPN.com universally panned Clarett's workout. Arizona Cardinals coach Dennis Green said that the former Ohio State star has a tough road ahead of him.

"Well, it was obvious he didn't run the way he had hoped to, and he has to go back and try to get himself ready for his [private] workout next month," Green said. "I mean, we really don't know how fast he ran when he was playing football. But we know he didn't run fast after this prolonged period away from the game."

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Auburn star Ronnie Brown dazzled scouts with a workout that included unofficial 40-yard times of 4.32 and 4.40. Brown also caught the ball well and may have established himself as the top tailback prospect, ahead of former Auburn teammate Carnell "Cadillac" Williams and Cedric Benson of Texas.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here Insider.

ALSO SEE