Lawyers Sue to Let Clarett Play in NFL

Friday, December 12th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Maurice Clarett's lawyers contended Friday that the NFL bars teenagers from playing professional football to perpetuate a free farm system for the league.

The lawyers asked U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin to allow Ohio State's suspended tailback to enter next year's NFL draft. The judge hopes to rule by Feb. 1.

The lawyers said in court papers that the NFL supports the NCAA college football system to save the league tens of millions of dollars in development and training.

Clarett sued the NFL this year, challenging the league rule that a player must be out of high school three years to be eligible for the draft.

Ohio State suspended Clarett for the season. He is accused of accepting money from a family friend and lying about it to NCAA and university investigators.

He ran for 1,237 yards and led Ohio State to a national championship as a freshman last season, but is not eligible for the draft until 2005 under current NFL rules.