The Cleveland Browns were missing Jadeveon Clowney on the practice field on Wednesday, with the defensive end sidelined with an illness.
Seeing any player out with an “illness” is concerning in the time of COVID-19, although Cleveland.com’s Dan Labbe reported that Clowney tested negative for the virus.
The Browns inked Clowney to a one-year deal worth up to $10 million this offseason to be Myles Garrett’s pass-rush partner on the defensive line. It was a small but practical gamble for the Browns, who had been pursuing Clowney the last two offseasons.
Last year, Clowney chose instead to sign with Tennesee on a one-year deal worth $13 million, which proved to be a blessing in disguise for the Browns. Clowney missed eight games with a knee injury, needing surgery to repair his left meniscus. Clowney notched 19 tackles — four for a loss — and no sacks in the down year.
That was coming off a season with the Seahawks where he had just 31 tackles and three sacks in 13 games.
If Clowney is for some reason unable to go on Sunday, the Browns would start Takkarist McKinley. He missed nearly all of camp dealing with a personal issue the team did not disclose. The Browns also have Joe Jackson on the active roster and recently signed former Minnesota Vikings starter Ifeadi Odenigbo to their practice squad.
Clowney Missed Chunk of Camp But Felt Good
Like they did with many players, the Browns took a conservative approach with Clowney in the preseason, giving him lots of rest and not playing him in the team’s three preseason games.
“I feel pretty good. Getting ready to go. It is camp, a part of camp. Stuff happens. Have to take care of what you have to and get ready for this long season,” Clowney told reporters in late August. “That was the goal is not to come out here and hurt anything. If something happens, a little strain or something, take care of it now so it does not linger later on.”
Clowney had missed his last handful of training camps all together, so this season was a bit of a different experience for the former top overall pick.
“It has been crazy jumping into each team the last few years not even knowing my teammates really and just playing with guys,” Clowney said during camp. “Getting out of here and get going and getting to know my teammates has been a great experience. It has been pretty good for me.”
Clowney Feels His Best is Yet to Come
If Clowney and Garrett can stay healthy it’ll be a scary prospect for rest of the NFL.
Garrett collected 12 sacks, two pass deflections and four forced fumbles in 14 games last season. Clowney has racked up 32 sacks over seven seasons. Clowney spent his first five NFL seasons with the Texans before joining the Seahawks via trade in 2019.
Clowney said during his introductory press conference that he hasn’t reached his full potential in the NFL yet, which is contingent on him staying healthy.
“I do not think everybody got to see the person they drafted yet. I think I am working back towards that, but I am well on my way now,” Clowney said during his introductory press conference. “I still can dominate this league, I know that. But if I ever reach my max potential or get back there like I feel now, they say the sky is the limit, but it is probably higher than that.
“I just want to stay healthy. If I play 16 games, I think we will be ready to see. Just let me work on that.”
The Browns are six-point underdogs against the Chiefs for Week 1 at Arrowhead Stadium.