Clarett, 31, served nearly four years in prison from 2006–2010 for aggravated robbery and carrying a concealed weapon. He's spent the past week addressing college football teams around the country, including Alabama, Mississippi State and TCU. Clarrett spoke to the Seminoles for over an hour Thursday, reports ESPN's Adam Rittenberg.
“Coming from a single-parent environment, coming up in the hoods, sometimes, we're undeveloped,” Clarett told the players, according to ESPN. “We're great football players, but we're s--- people. We don't have the skills to perform.”
Clarett, who now runs a packaging and transportation businesses in addition to motivational speaking, urged players to build their lives away from football and to be accountable.
It's been a rocky off-season for the team away from the field: quarterback De'Andre Johnson was dismissed for punching a woman at a Tallahassee bar in July, and running back Dalvin Cook faces a misdemeanor battery charge after allegedly punching a woman in the face outside a different local bar in June. Cook has been indefinitely suspended by the team and has a trial set for Aug. 24.
“A lot of y'all need to grow up,” Clarett told the players. “That's the bottom line. What happened to Maurice Clarett in prison was, I needed to grow the f--- up. You had the world in your hands, the NFL in your hands, and you f---ed it up because you want to be a gangsta.”
He told his story of delinquent behavior growing up in Youngstown, Ohio, which persisted into his days at Ohio State and as a professional. Clarett said he began to learn about business, read and expand his interests after entering prison.
The Florida State coaching staff was impressed with Clarett's address. Head coach Jimbo Fisher called it “one of the most bona fide, true, legit talks” he'd ever heard in college football.
Clarett is reportedly one of 13 speakers addressing the Seminoles during preseason camp, including Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Tim Brown and former NBA player Chris Herren, who battled drug and alcohol addiction.
- Jeremy Woo