Free agent Jadeveon Clowney is not letting quarantine, injuries or the dearth of interested NFL suitors stop him from showing the football world that he’s healthy and still worth top-dollar.
“I’m working, I’m staying ahead of schedule and I’m going to be ready to go when training camp starts [to be] the best Jadeveon Clowney come my day to perform and leave it all on the field,” the three-time Pro Bowler told FOX 26 on Tuesday. “I just want to let people know I’m ready, I’ll be ready to go whenever the time comes. Whoever I sign with will get the best version of me.”
With the coronavirus pandemic freezing almost all sports-related activities, including NFL physicals, teams have been unable to assess the oft-injured defensive end since his core muscle and sports hernia surgery in February.
“I don’t know if people think I’m hurt because of what I went through because of the core or because of previous years,” Clowney said. “I’m just taking one day at a time and staying focused.”
Clowney has been linked to the Giants, Jets and Eagles, among other teams including a potential Seahawks return.
The interview is accompanied by clips of the 27-year-old edge rusher performing a number of different balance and strengthening drills with ease at Plex in Houston where fellow free agent Cam Newton also works out. He attributes the success of his rehab to getting “an early start” after the surgery.
“I came over here like two weeks after I had it and I’ve been here ever since just strengthening on my core and getting back on track and getting ready for the next year,” he said.
The 6-foot-5, 266-pound South Carolina product was drafted No. 1 overall in the 2014 NFL Draft despite injuries in his junior year. Clowney played in just four games in his rookie year and underwent microfracture surgery. He underwent knee surgery again in 2017, which was the only season in which he played all 16 games.
“I’m in year seven so I know what I have to do to get where I need to get,” he said.
Clowney was traded to the Seahawks ahead of the 2019 season and recorded 31 tackles, three sacks, four forced fumbles and one interception in 13 games.
“He came in, did a great job for us,” Seahawks general manager John Schneider said in a video conference in April. “We made an effort to re-sign him.”
Clowney reportedly turned down bids from Seahawks and Dolphins for $18.5 million and $17 million, respectively, in hopes of a deal worth closer to $21 million per year.
Despite rejecting the Seahawks’ previous offer, Clowney isn’t ruling out a return to Seattle.
“I loved Seattle when I was there this past year. I love everyone on the coaching staff,” he said. “We could work something out if anything happen. I did like it up there. I love [Russell Wilson], I love all the guys I played with.”
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