Jadeveon Clowney issued an apology to his Cleveland Browns teammate Myles Garrett after making some critical comments aimed at the All-Pro pass-rusher.
Clowney angered the Browns with some comments to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com which accused the team of putting Garrett in more favorable matchups during games.
“You’re all trying to get somebody into the Hall of Fame when all that matters is winning,” Clowney told Cleveland.com. “Everybody got here for a reason, and we can all make plays. I know I am.”
Clowney said he was 95% sure that he was gone and 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 sat Clowney for the final game of the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers following his comments. Clowney issued an apology on Friday, although it might be too little too late for the former top pick if he intends to mend fences in Cleveland.
“As a son and a parent, I want to fully apologize to anyone offended, specifically Myles Garrett and his family,” Clowney said in the statement, per ESPN. “As a man, I have reached out to Myles specifically to apologize. I will continue to learn and grow as I move forward.”
Clowney Set to Hit Free Agency After Down Season
While you never want to question an apology, Clowney may be trying to save face considering the backlash he faced after the comments as he heads into free agency looking for a new home.
Clowney signed a 1-year, $10 million deal to return to the Browns last offseason following a resurgent nine-sack campaign. However, he managed just two sacks this season playing opposite of Garrett and missed time with an ankle injury.
Clowney will be 30 years old next season and will likely have some suitors. What kind of contract he’ll be offered is another story. Teams will be wary of his injury history and the blow-up with the Browns to end his tenure in Cleveland will not help either.
What might be a larger issue for Clowney is the fact that he refused to play on early downs in a matchup against the Ravens earlier in the year.
“I knew he was frustrated. We’ve all been frustrated; we’re not winning,” Garrett said. “I wish we could’ve talked about this man-to-man. … I wish he would have handled it a little bit differently.”
Browns Confident They Can Add Pieces to Bolster D-Line
The defensive line should be one of the primary focuses for the front office this offseason in an effort to give Garrett some capable running mates. Cleveland ran out what might have been the most underwhelming group of defensive tackles in the league last season, and without Clowney, the Browns will need to find a capable threat at pass-rusher.
“That is certainly a position group that we do value and we will continue to value, no different than the offensive line on the offensive side of the ball,” Browns general manager Andrew Berry said in his season-ending press conference. “We will continue to invest in it and make those decisions at the appropriate time.”
The Browns have started interviews for their defensive coordinator position after firing Joe Woods a day after the season. Brian Flores, Sean Desai and Jim Schwartz are in the mix for the job.