On his way to becoming the United Football League’s most celebrated benchwarmer — four carries, 7 yards in the Omaha Nighthawks’ 22-10 loss to the Locomotives on Friday night — Maurice Clarett learned the pen is mightier than the sword. And Kevlar body armor.
That’s what the former Ohio State football star, already on probation for armed robbery, was wearing after leading cops on a high-speed chase, rendering their Tasers more ineffective than Barney Fife’s service revolver.
In prison, some guys learn how to play poker for Camels. Some guys — a lot of guys — pump iron. Some guys read books on the legal system and file their own appeals.
Clarett learned to express himself through self-reflection and introspection. And a blog on the Internet. Rarely mentioning prison life, he referred to sports only indirectly, such as marveling over the 3-point range of a fellow inmate or writing LeBron James an open letter, urging him to get his rear end in gear against Orlando in the playoffs.
This post, from a blog simply called “Monday,” is more indicative of Clarett’s thought process, which could be rambling, poignant and, more often than not, profound in an Andy Dufresne sort of way.
I am excited. I’m not sure about what, but I’m just in a good mood today. I wish I could celebrate being happy. I’m not sure how I would go about doing that but I’m sure I’m going to figure it out. We will get a chance to go outside today. I like to sit on the bleachers and watch the clouds with music in my ears. I think that will be my way of celebrating being happy. You don’t have a lot of options back here.
He called his blog, posted by family members, “The Mind of Maurice Clarett.”
There’s a lot more going on inside of it than his arrests and other missteps would suggest.
■ BRYCE HARPER: A Bowman baseball card depicting the teenaged Las Vegas slugger sold for $12,500 on eBay, second only to a similar card of his soon-to-be Washington Nationals teammate Stephen Strasburg that sold for $21,403. Harper’s card was bought by an investment banker, so there is probably little chance of it winding up in the spokes of a bicycle like the Woodie Held and Jim Gosger cards of my youth.
■ PAT BURRELL: You might have heard the announcers say “Pat the Bat,” who hit a three-run homer for the Giants against the Braves in the playoffs Friday, played five games in the minor leagues this year (with the Fresno Grizzlies) in finding his way back to The Show. Three were in Las Vegas. None was in Fresno. Probably just one of those scheduling quirks.
■ IN MEMORIAM: One of the most touching scenes in “We Are Marshall” is where the West Virginia football players, coached then by Bobby Bowden, affix little crosses to their helmets in memory of the Marshall football team wiped out by a tragic plane crash. This year’s Mountaineers players, coached by Bill Stewart, affixed no such decals to their helmets in memory of a UNLV football team wiped out by years and years of failure. West Virginia did, however, write the Rebels a nice check for $750,000, which will buy a lot of little helmet decals.
■ DIONER NAVARRO: If I were left off the Rays’ playoff roster for guys named Kelly Shoppach and John Jaso, I might not show my face around the dressing room, either. But what happens when you ditch the team, as the former 51s catcher did, and Shoppach or Jaso pulls a hammy? I guess watching the umps blow routine calls from the top step of the dugout isn’t as cool as it seems on TV.
■ PBA ADOPTS INSTANT REPLAY: The pro bowling tour has announced it will use instant replay to resolve foul-line disputes and pin-setting issues in TV tournaments. In a related note, the PBA Tour said it would also consider letting Major League Baseball use Parker Bohn III to overrule bad calls in the playoffs.
■ PHILLIP PAYNE: Note to the UNLV wide receiver: If, after your college football career, the UFL doesn’t pan out and you land a job as a latex salesman at Vandelay Industries, do not criticize Art Vandelay on a social networking site. It’s liable to get you canned.
Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Ron Kantowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0352.