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Saturday, February 21, 2004
Clarett signs agent; forfeits college eligibility

By Len Pasquarelli
ESPN.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- Running back Maurice Clarett officially signed an agent on Saturday, completing one more step toward the NFL and officially forfeiting his remaining college eligibility.

Clarett signed the pertinent documentation to retain veteran player representative Jimmy Sexton and his associates at Memphis-based Athletic Resource Management on Saturday, ending a week of speculation and rumor.

The retention of Sexton has been in the works for a week but, for a variety of reasons, the exiled Ohio State tailback had not signed the "standard representation agreement" that is filed with the NFL Players Association. One benign reason for the delay, said Sexton and Clarett on Saturday, was simply timing.

"This past week," said Sexton, "has been kind of a whirlwind for all of us. Maurice didn't even know until Monday or Tuesday that he was coming to the combine. Then we had to get him prepared for it. And there were just some matters of logistics and timing, and a few things with the league, that kept us from finishing [the paperwork]."

Sexton and other ARM associates have been counseling Clarett for a little more than a week. They arranged and paid for his Monday night meeting with former longtime NFL personnel director Ken Herock, who preps players for the combine interview process. And the people at ARM have been painfully candid with Clarett about the need for him to begin rehabilitating his public image by being straightforward with team officials.

Most general managers acknowledged earlier this week that retaining Sexton, because of his stature in the agent community and the regard with which he is held around the NFL, would be a positive step for Clarett.

"It would demonstrate some stability on his part," said one NFC personnel director, "and he could use some of that."

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.