After some injury-plagued seasons, Jadeveon Clowney has shown that he’s still got it with the Cleveland Browns, showing off the ability that made him a top overall pick.
Now the question becomes where Clowney will continue his career next season, seeing as he signed just a one-year deal with the Browns as a free agent. If Cleveland wants him, he’d love to come back.
“I would [consider returning], but we have not talked about anything right now. Just finishing the season,” Clowney told reporters on Friday, December 31. “We have a lot of guys on this team who are on a one-year deal, and they might be heading back or do not know what is going to happen in the future. Right now, it is just all about the next game, just trying to get through the season and doing what I can do for the team as of right now.”
The main factor for Clowney throughout his career has been his health, which has been an issue since his rookie season.
“Everything is going well. Just having fun. I have been missing the game. I sat out last year. I got hurt,” Clowney said. “I am just happy to be back out there and still be at it this late in the season and healthier. Just trying to finish up strong here and leave it all on the field for this team.”
Clowney has five sacks with the Browns, which is the most in a season since he had nine in 2018. When he doesn’t get to the quarterback, he’s been applying pressure, with 44 this season, per Pro Football Focus. Clowney graded out with a 67.6 overall mark from PFF, scoring high due to his run-stopping ability.
Clowney Was ‘Hurting’ From Bout With COVID-19
Clowney missed last week’s game after testing positive for COVID-19. And unlike some players who were asymptomatic, it hit him hard.
“The first two days, I was real sick. I could hardly hold my head up. I was telling the trainers, ‘Man, there is something wrong with me,” Clowney revealed to reporters. “I do not know what is wrong.’ I was testing negative, and then the third day, I came in and tested again, and that is when I tested positive. My head was just hurting so bad. I had never felt anything like it. I was just like, ‘I do not know if I can play like this. I do not know what is going on. I am tired. I am worn out, no energy.’ I was just trying to really just wrap my head around what was happening to my body, and that is when I tested positive so I kind of figured it was from having COVID.”
With Clowney out and backup Takk McKinley on injured reserve, the Browns turned to unheralded, undrafted defensive end Porter Gustin to start positive of Myles Garrett.
Garrett Thinks Defense Living Up to the ‘Hype’
After some uneven performances, the Browns defense seems to have found its stride. After being blown out by the Patriots 45-7, teams have averaged just 17.6 points against Cleveland. That includes 24 by the Packers last week, although 21 of those were off interceptions from Baker Mayfield in the first half.
“We are living up to that hype right now, but we have to keep it going. The first year for a defense like this and a lot of guys coming from different places, young guys and of all that, we had a couple of bad games, but we have had some great games,” Garrett said. “Now, it is just trying to find where we lie and what our strengths and weaknesses are. I think we are figuring that out. It has really helped us down the stretch, keeping opponents to lower scores than we were at the beginning of the season and not having too many explosive games by the offenses. Now, we just have to start scoring on defense.”
The Browns have to win their next two games against the Steelers and Bengals to make the postseason. They also need Cincinnati and Baltimore to lose their games this week to have a shot at the AFC North title and a playoff berth.