MAURICE CLARETT wants to get out of jail.

It seems the former Ohio State tailback, who helped lead the Buckeyes to the national title in 2002, has figured out that prison stops you from doing other neat stuff you want to do - like trying out for NFL teams.

Clarett was sentenced in September 2006 to at least 3 1/2 years for robbing two people at gunpoint outside a bar in Columbus, Ohio.

His attorney, Percy Squire, went before the Ohio Parole Board yesterday. He said Clarett, who was drafted and released by the Broncos in 2005, has heard from NFL teams and may have a chance to play professionally if he gets an early release. As of now, the earliest he could get out is March.

"Whether he is permitted to go in the summer of 2009 versus the summer of 2010 can make a huge difference," Squire said. "We're talking a matter of months here, but it could have a huge impact on his ability to pursue a livelihood."

Hmmmmm. Maybe Clarett should have thought about that before he robbed those people.

You get what you pay for

Former mountain biking world champion Melissa "Missy" Giove was held on $250,000 bail yesterday after federal authorities claimed they seized more than 200 pounds of marijuana from a truck she was driving in upstate New York.

Public defender Tim Austin said the pot was planted in Giove's truck, possibly by police.

We're not legal experts, Melissa, but you might want to think about retaining another attorney.

Smart money isn't on Barkley

Harrah's Sportsbook released its odds for the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship in Lake Tahoe, Nev., next month.

Former major league pitcher Rick Rhoden (9-5) and Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (3-1) are the favorites. Former Sixer Charles Barkley, who just finished a reality show in which he got lessons from Tiger Woods' coach, Hank Haney, got no respect. He's listed last at 499-1. *

- Tom Mahon

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