Jadeveon Clowney had a very good reason for a drop-off in performance last year, it turns out.
The South Carolina defensive end saw his production dip in 2013, which many attributed to opposing offenses that keyed in on him and made it a priority to contain the explosive Clowney.
But others attributed it to a lack of motivation on Clowney’s part, with critics saying it appeared he was taking some plays off and not giving a full effort.
It turns out there is another explanation. The No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NFL draft has actually been suffering a sports hernia, one that he recently had surgery to fix.
Jadeveon Clowney had passed his physicals prior to the draft, and the Houston Texans only found out when he showed up for offseason OTAs.
Clowney may have suffered for quite a while. NFL.com reported that Clowney played with the injury through his entire junior season at South Carolina. Clowney reportedly thought it was just a groin injury, and didn’t seek treatment for it.
The injury was reportedly the cause for Clowney missing some playing time, which at the time some attributed to lack of motivation. One of these incidents took place against Kentucky, when Clowney checked himself out of the game.
“If he doesn’t want to play, he doesn’t have to, simple as that,” coach Steve Spurrier said after the game.
Mike Vrabel, who signed on this year as the Texans linebacker coach, said he never worried about Clowney’s attitude.
Vrabel told Post and Courier, “I think his (Clowney’s) attitude, much like all of our guys, their attitude has been great.”
He added, “He’s somebody that we’re excited about because he has the natural ability, but he also has the attitude to want to learn. He (Clowney) doesn’t think he has it all figured out.”
The injury isn’t expected to affect Jadeveon Clowney with the Houston Texans in the upcoming season, and it apparently did nothing to lower his draft stock. The Texans turned down all potential trade offers for the No. 1 pick, then inked Clowney to a $22.3 million contract.