NFL DRAFT Clarett skips all-star skills event

Former Ohio State RB Maurice Clarett raises doubts as combine looms.
MIAMI (AP) -- Maurice Clarett stiff-armed another commitment, reinforcing doubts about his reliability and fitness with the NFL scouting combine three weeks away.
The elusive, reclusive former Ohio State running back had been scheduled to participate in the college football all-star challenge, an eight-player skills event taped Monday by Fox TV at Dolphins Stadium for broadcast Saturday.
But he recently hired a new agent, Steve Feldman, who told organizers late last week that Clarett was pulling out.
"It was completely my decision," Feldman said. "He wanted to be there, but from a safety standpoint, it doesn't seem logical to take a chance that he might tweak something or pull something or damage something that would prevent him from showing off his stuff at the combine."
At the combine a year ago, Clarett showed up overweight and declined to work out. He'll be eligible for the draft in April after his legal bid to enter the NFL last year was overturned by an appeals court. He hasn't played since being suspended by Ohio State following the 2002 season.
Fantastic shape
Feldman said Clarett is healthy and working with a private trainer but declined to say where.
"This guy will blow people's minds at the combine," Feldman said. "He is in fantastic shape. That's why it seems ludicrous to jeopardize it at this point."
Following the combine in Indianapolis, which begins Feb. 23, Clarett will likely take part in two or three private workouts, Feldman said.
Organizers of the all-star challenge said Clarett accepted an invitation to the event earlier in January before hiring Feldman.
"Unfortunately Maurice is carrying forward his tradition of not honoring commitments and being very unpredictable," said Dan Jones, vice president of Intersport, the company producing the show. "We were excited about giving him an opportunity to change the public perception, and unfortunately he has done the exact opposite and reinforced it."
Players participating included Aaron Rodgers, Jason White, Carnell Williams and Braylon Edwards, who shrugged off Clarett's absence.
"To be invited to something like this, I thought it would be something good for him," Edwards said. "Clarett's Clarett."

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