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Clarett improves on 40-yard times at workout

CORTLAND, Ohio (March 31, 2005) -- Maurice Clarett ran faster on his home turf than he did at the NFL combine.

A month after Clarett bombed in Indianapolis, he was clocked at around 4.67 seconds in two 40-yard dashes, according to his agents, while working out for scouts from eight NFL teams March 31.

"I was just trying to give the coaches what they wanted," Clarett said. "They wanted a faster 40, so I worked on the 40 more than anything."

At the combine, the former Ohio State star was clocked at between 4.72 and 4.82 in the 40, a time more appropriate for a linebacker or defensive end than a running back.

Clarett completed more than an hour's worth of drills on March 31 on an artificial turf indoor soccer field.

"I think it might get him back into the draft," agent Steve Feldman said.

Clarett unsuccessfully challenged the NFL's minimum-age requirement in court last year and hasn't played since leading Ohio State to a national title in 2002 as a freshman.

He was suspended the next season for lying to NCAA and university investigators.

Scouts and coaches representing Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Miami, New England, Pittsburgh and St. Louis attended the workout near Clarett's hometown of Warren.

"He looks good," Browns offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon said.

Despite being two pounds heavier at 236 pounds, Clarett looked more defined than at the NFL combine. He wore a gray sleeveless shirt and a pair of black shorts for his running drills then went shirtless for some receiving drills.

Clarett bared his teeth during his first 40-yard dash and quickly exhaled air at the end of his second run before slamming to a stop against a wall of the soccer field.

Bengals running backs coach Jim Anderson ran Clarett through a series of drills and at one point barked at him to do a shuttle drill correctly.

"He worked hard," Anderson said.

Clarett smiled and appeared relieved after the workout was over.

"I was wheezing a little bit at the end, but overall I think I did good," Clarett said.

His lawyer, David Kenner, said Clarett was in better shape after spending the last month focusing on fast-twitch muscle training with a trainer who works with San Diego Chargers All-Pro LaDainian Tomlinson.

Knowing his performance at the NFL combine could have pushed him out of the April 23-24 draft, Clarett set up the March 31 workout. It was supposed to have been at his former high school's track in Warren but high winds forced the show indoors to the nearby soccer arena.

Ohio State excluded Clarett from participating in Pro Day workouts with his former teammates earlier this month. Clarett alienated himself at Ohio State with allegations that administrators and coaches broke NCAA rules by arranging perks for players.

Clarett doesn't think NFL teams should look at him as a guy with character issues.

"I never had any off the field problems, it was more NCAA regulation problems," he said. "I never beat somebody up or got arrested."

Feldman predicts that Clarett will be a later round pick but says wherever he's taken it will be below his ability.

"Of course I would like to go higher in the draft, I've been working since I was in high school to get to this point," Clarett said. "But that's something I can't control. Whatever happens on April 23, I think I'll live with it."

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