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Maurice Clarett Granted Early Prison Release

The former Ohio State running back star that led the Buckeyes to a National Championship in 2002 has been granted an early release from prison. WOSU reports Maurice Clarett will spend some time in a community controlled residential facility before he starts his parole.

Maurice Clarett was 22 at the time he was sent to prison for aggravated robbery and gun charges. Now, 26, Clarett is a free man - almost.

Clarett has served three-and-a-half years of a seven-and-a-half year prison sentence.

Judge David Fais remanded Clarett to the Franklin County Community Based Correctional Facility on Alum Creek Drive. Clarett will spend up to six months at the center under intense supervision. He will not be able to leave freely. His attorney Michael Hoague said the early release is a little bittersweet.

"He's been released from prison and he's still incarcerated. So it's a mixture of feelings. His family is that close to him, he missed them badly. He wants to go on with his education and his life. And this is another hurdle he's going to have to get through," Hoague said.

Fais asked Clarett what was the one thing he learned during his time behind bars. Clarett took a moment to think over his answer. He said it was difficult to name one thing.

"Learned to develop characteristics that will help me be a great father and a great individual that will contribute to society," Clarett said.

While in Prison in Toledo, Clarett led an extreme fitness class, an over 50 exercise class and created a flag football team. And Hoague told the judge Clarett has been taking college classes and expressed a desire to finish his degree at Ohio State.

He also told the judge that Clarett has a business plan put together for elder care services for baby boomers.

"Nutrition, the whole gamut, in geriatrics and gerontology," Hoague said.

And football is not out of Clarett's sights either. Hoague said there's a developing United States Football League.

"One of Coach Tressel's former assistants is going down there to coach. It's a developmental league to get people into the NFL. I think they may give him a look," he said.

Clarett's girlfriend, the mother of his daughter was in the courtroom - as was his mother, Michelle Clarett. She said she'd like to see her son back in football, but she supports his other goals.

"Maurice has had a multitude of different passions, it's not all just been football. It's also been an opportunity to wake a sleeping giant, so to speak, in other aspects. He's a well-rounded person. He's not just a running back," she said.

Judge Fais made clear to Clarett that if he breaks any conditions of his early release, including possessing a gun or contacting his victims, he would be returned to finish his prison sentence. Clarett also will have to live in Franklin County until the judge decides otherwise. He'll be on parole for five years.

Clarett's was arrested twice in 2006. First in January for armed robbery, then again in September. That arrest involved a lengthy police chase where police found an AK-47, two hand guns, a hatchet and an open bottle of vodka in his borrowed SUV. Clarett was wearing a bullet-proof vest when he was arrested the second time just down the road from the home of a witness to the armed robbery.

Clarett, as a freshman, helped lead the Ohio State football team to a national championship in 2002. He was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2005, but the team cut him before the start of the season. Clarett was set to play on an indoor football team in 2007.