Clarett released on $50K bond

Updated: January 3, 2006, 1:08 PM ET news services

Maurice Clarett appeared but did not speak in a two-minute Franklin County Municipal Court proceeding Tuesday. Judge Amy Salerno freed the 22-year-old Clarett on $50,000 bond. The case will now be turned over to the grand jury, according to Clarett's attorney, William Settina.

Clarett turned himself in Monday night on charges of robbing two people at gunpoint in an alley behind a bar.

Maurice Clarett

Clarett was wanted on two counts of aggravated robbery 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.

The 22-year-old former Buckeyes star, who helped the team win the national championship in 2002, turned himself in around 9 p.m. Monday at the county jail, Columbus Detective Art Hughes said.

Around the same time Monday, fourth-ranked Ohio State was finishing a 34-20 win over No. 5 Notre Dame at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Ariz.

Myke Clarett, Clarett's father, declined comment when reached at his home Monday night. A recorded message on the voicemail box for his mother, Michelle Clarett, indicated that it was full.

Before the incident, Clarett was negotiating a deal with an NFL team, Josh Luchs, one of Clarett's agents, told ESPN The Magazine's Tom Friend. Clarett was expected to be allocated to NFL Europe if he signed, Friend reported.

Clarett sat out the 2003 season when he was charged with misdemeanor falsification for filing a police report claiming that more than $10,000 in clothing, CDs, cash and stereo equipment was stolen from a car he borrowed from a local dealership. 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 U.S. 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 at a news conference the day before the Fiesta Bowl that he had recently spoken with Clarett about opportunities in NFL Europe.

"Obviously, my reaction to that is it's sad," Tressel said Sunday, "because, as I said the last few times people have brought up the subject, my hope would be that he would have an opportunity to go over to NFL Europe and make a comeback."

In an interview with ESPN The Magazine in November 2004, Clarett said coaches and boosters arranged for him to get passing grades, cars and thousands of dollars while at Ohio State. None of the allegations was verified and Clarett never responded to NCAA requests to be interviewed as part of its investigation into Ohio State's athletic program.

Clarett was drafted by the Broncos last year but, because of injury, didn't get much chance to perform in training camp and was released in Denver's first round of cuts. He never got another tryout.

Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he was "shocked" when he heard about the incident.

"Shocked. Hoping it's not true, and if it is, he'll have to deal with the consequences, which seem like they'll be very steep," Shanahan said Monday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.