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Maurice Clarett’s football career never finished the way he envisioned it. Now he’s on the comeback, but playing football has little to do with that.
On Saturday, Clarett began giving back to his hometown with “The Comeback Project” celebrity basketball game at the Struthers Fieldhouse.
Nearly 2,000 people came to see the likes of Clarett, Jim Tressel, Trent Richardson, Boom Herron, Brad Smith, Anthony Smith and Prescott Burgess.
The event was part of Clarett’s new mission to try to steer youth from the troubled road that the Warren Harding graduate went down.
“When you have influence or you have power in your area, it’s your responsibility to use that for good,” Clarett said. “I wasn’t conscious, at the time, how influential I was to people or how I connected with people, but at 29, going through prison, going through my experiences, the ups and downs and things of that nature, it just means something to come back and make an impact.”
“I always knew he had it in him,” added former Youngstown State University and Ohio State University football coach Jim Tressel. “Sometimes things happen, and the mark of a man is what he does after tough stuff happens, and he’s doing well.”
Several of the NFL players in attendance weighed in on how happy they were to see the community come out and how they enjoy giving back.
“For us all to come back here, all together at one time, it’s just a great thing,” said Cincinnati Bengals running back Dan Herron. “For all these people to come out, we’re just happy for this to happen for us.”
“It just shows how much this community means to these guys,” added Buffalo Bills wide receiver Brad Smith. “The opportunity to give back, any time guys get it, they do it, so it’s a blessing. We’re all family.”
“Anything for the 330 area,” continued NFL free agent Prescott Burgess. “It’s where I grew up at, and I feel good coming back and seeing the people come out and support the cause. It’s a great cause. It warms your heart up and makes you want to give back every single second.”
WKBN’s Dave Sess also helped coach one of the teams in the competition.