Jadeveon Clowney will not play in the Cleveland Browns‘ final game of the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers after some comments he made riled up the locker room.
The Browns made the final call on Clowney on Saturday, announcing that he would be out for the rivalry matchup with the Steelers to close out the season. Clowney was sent home from practice on Friday after he made some inflammatory comments to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com that took aim at the coaching staff and his pass-rush partner, Myles Garrett.
“You’re all trying to get [Garrett] into the Hall of Fame instead of winning games,” Clowney told 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.”
Garrett said he was confused by Clowney’s criticism, saying he disagreed with the sentiment that the Browns were not focused on winning games. Garrett — who has 15 sacks this season — also didn’t understand the idea that he gets the easier matchups, considering he’s the most double-teamed defensive end in the league.
“If I’m the most double-teamed guy, it’s hard to say I’m getting the most favorable matchups,” Garrett said. “What I’ve done speaks for itself. Of course they’re going to put me in positions to make plays. But they’re also going to be positions where I’m going to get double-teamed. I move all over the line. [Clowney] has moved, as well.”
Myles Garrett Sent Clear Message to Clowney on Return
Clowney said in the interview that he was 95% sure he would not be returning to the Browns next season. Clowney said the Browns have “got their own guys, and I ain’t one of them, so it’s time for me to get my exit slip.” Garrett took a very clear stance on if he’d welcome Clowney back.
“We just want volunteers, not hostages,” Garrett said.
Clowney will be a free agent at the end of the season and the former top overall pick will be looking for a new team. He had nine sacks a season ago with the Browns but has managed just two sacks this season.
Clowney’s agent made a plea for him to play the final game of the season after he was sent home from practice, via Josina Anderson of CBS Sports.
“It’s been an emotional and frustrating season given initial expectations. Those sentiments were expressed in a locker room,” the statement read. “In today’s NFL, an open locker room means media is present. J.D. always shows up, plays hard and gives his best. It would be unfortunate for him not to be able to finish the season on the field, doing what he loves, with his teammates.”
Clowney Refused to Play Earlier in the Season
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski didn’t get too in-depth on the issue, refusing to answer many questions pertaining to Clowney’s outburst.
“I have had a lot of conversations with a lot of guys. JD is somebody who I respect. He is a veteran. We have had conversations, yes, but I just don’t think it is fair in this setting [to talk about those conversations].” Stefanski said. “I understand the question – I do – but I just think it is fair to our team that we keep those conversations internal.”
While Stefanski did not want to throw fuel on the fire, defensive line coach Chris Kiffin confirmed the frustration from Clowney has lingered through the season. The apex came in a Week 7 game against the Baltimore Ravens, where Clowney refused to play on first and second down. It was initially believed that was due to injury but Clowney made it clear that stemmed from his frustration with the game plan.
“We practiced all week, and we get in the game and they want to move me. I’m not doing that s—. I’m old. I done my job. I don’t have time for that,” Clowney told Cleveland.com. “I’ve made my money. I’m doing this because I love the game, but keep [doing things like that] and making me not love the game.”
With Clowney out, rookie Alex Wright will likely pick up his sixth start of the season opposite of Garrett.