Clowney was drafted by the Houston Texans with the top overall pick in the 2014 draft. He dealt with some injuries but eventually got on track, making a trio of Pro Bowls and being named an All-Pro in 2016.
The Texans are in rebuild mode after selecting quarterback CJ Stroud with the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft but Clowney would be happy to make a return to Houston.
“It would be nice,” Clowney told Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston. “All my family is here. Friends here. The guys I work out with can help me take care of my body a lot better being right up under them. … You never know. You never know what will happen. You never know what’s in front of you.”
The Texans look much different than they did when Clowney was there last, including at head coach. Former Pro Bowl linebacker DeMeco Ryans was hired this offseason to take over.
“I see they putting the pieces together,” he said. “I’m a big fan of their new head coach. They’ve got some guys up front I think can go —Maliek (Collins) and they just got the rookie (Will Anderson) this year. It’ll be a big thing to see what they do this year. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do. Especially since I’m (based) here. I don’t know. We’ll see what happens.”
Browns Will Not be an Option for Jadeveon Clowney
The Browns won’t be an option available for Clowney after he burned some bridges on his way out. Clowney took aim at the coaching staff and his pass-rush partner Myles Garrett with some critical comments before the final game of the year.
“You’re all trying to get [Garrett] into the Hall of Fame instead of winning games,” Clowney told Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot. “I don’t even think [Garrett] notices. I ain’t trying to say it’s him. I try to get along with everybody I play with. Me and him don’t have a problem. It ain’t his fault, and it’s B.S., and I don’t have time for it.”
He added that the Browns “got their own guys, and I ain’t one of them, so it’s time for me to get my exit slip.”
The Browns decided to sit Clowney for their final game of the year against the Pittsburgh Steelers following the comments. He later apologized to Garrett but it likely wasn’t enough for the team to welcome him back.
Browns Made Move for Za’Darius Smith to Bulk Up Pass-Rush
The Browns needed to address the spot opposite of Garrett on the defensive line and did so by signing Ogbo Okoronkwo and trading for Pro Bowler Za’Darius Smith. Combined with Garrett, the trio should give quarterbacks headaches all season.
Smith got off to a scorching start with 8.5 sacks in his first seven games last season, finishing with 10 and being named to his third Pro Bowl. Smith has posted double-digit sacks in three of his last four seasons, the lone hole being 2021 when he missed all but one game due to injury.
Okoronkwo has some significant upside but has started just eight games in his career with the Los Angeles Rams and Houston Texans. Having a pair of veterans to learn from in Garrett and Smith will only help his progression as a pass-rusher.