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Clowney hobbling against Georgia

Clowney AP

When a guy is presumed to be the first overall pick in the 2014 draft, there’s only one direction he can go.

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who appeared gassed and overwhelmed and anything but the best player on the planet during the Gamecocks’ first game of the 2013 season, could be heading in that direction.

On Saturday, Clowney has been hobbling around the field with a foot injury he aggravated against Georgia.  It originally happened this week at practice, when a teammate stepped on Clowney.

The situation demonstrates the reality that Clowney had nothing to gain and everything to lose by playing another year of football for no compensation other than an education Clowney could have paid for on his own (a few hundred times over) after his NFL career ends.  Many, including the head coach who gets paid millions for the effort expended and risk accepted by college football players, scoffed at the notion of Clowney heading to the clubhouse for his third season after graduating high school.  But it would have been better to step aside from play-for-no-pay and remain at the top of the draft than to emerge from the new football season on the wrong end of a Barkley-Brohm board slide.

The millionaire coaches who have no incentive to advise a player like Clowney to quit are only part of the problem.  The NFL rule that keeps kids from joining the leagye until they are three years removed from high school isn’t about ensuring boys have become men.  It’s about protecting the interests of the curators of the NFL’s free farm system, a balance aimed at giving guys like Steve Spurrier at least three years with everyone — including any man-children who could thrive immediately in the NFL.

In this case, there’s an added benefit to the team that will have the top pick in the 2014.  Whoever “earns” that pick will be making the decision only after seeing what Clowney does, or doesn’t do, as the man supposedly running alone at the front of the pack.

For now, he’s running with a limp.

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37 Responses to “Clowney hobbling against Georgia”
  1. 11inthebox says: Sep 7, 2013 7:42 PM

    The biggest obstacle against Clowney is that South Carolina has no other playmakers on defense. The other end, the tackles and the linebackers don’t seem especially good and the secondary looks undisciplined.

    Clowney is a one man show.

  2. mikeheruki says: Sep 7, 2013 7:43 PM

    Does he have a family that can help him with decisions like this? You would hope the coach would but there are probably only a handful that would put the player first.

  3. thekingdave says: Sep 7, 2013 7:44 PM

    Much like the recent chirping about the the Redskins name being “offensive”, where were all you media types 10 years ago on these issues? Why now, what has changed?

  4. 49erstim says: Sep 7, 2013 7:52 PM

    With the crop of dummies that come out after 3 years I’m starting to wish that was turned to 6 years. Of COURSE these “millionaire coaches” are protecting their own interests. If they want to continue to make the big dog bank then they must keep the big dog talent. These kids are hardly doing this “for free”. They are receiving an education (that sparingly few take advantage of) that costs a TON. In this world you get NOTHING for free! everything costs SOMETHING. The cost of achieving NFL glory means that these players assume the risk in high school and then college.

  5. thepvyharvin says: Sep 7, 2013 7:54 PM

    Watched him every play to see what all the hype is about today. Looked average to me, got bored actually..

  6. phillyphever says: Sep 7, 2013 7:57 PM

    Yeah, sitting out a year doesn’t do anyone favors. Mike Williams in 2005 gave us a good example of that.

  7. hobiecat1 says: Sep 7, 2013 7:59 PM

    If he’s as good as people say..then he’ll show it on the field this year..If not..Let him slide..Don’t need any one hit wonders drafted number one after sitting out a year…and I doubt he’d go number one if he’d chosen to sit out anyway.

  8. realfootballfan says: Sep 7, 2013 7:59 PM

    If you’re Oakland or Jacksonville who will undoubtedly have that top pick anyway, defensive ends don’t change your franchise anyway. They need a QB, and Bridgewater is looking like that guy right now.

  9. supremekingz says: Sep 7, 2013 8:00 PM

    This is so stupid. I’m tired of the “college players need to be paid” argument. There are over a hundred thousand student athletes and the majority of them play on a full scholarship. Lets just pretend that’s $25K a year for 4 years. That means every one of these kids is getting paid $100K+ during their college years when only a tiny fraction of them will actually go pro, and an even smaller amount will have a career over 3 years.

    Cry me a river about “not” getting paid. You’re getting a post secondary education for free, free medical care, and unlike the average American, you avoid having more student loan debt than credit card debt.

    If you pay these you’re stupid

  10. truthfactory says: Sep 7, 2013 8:02 PM

    What if he’s just not as good as everyone thinks he is? Maybe this is why the NFL wants to see 3 seasons of football, no just one or two. So they can see how they handle themselves. If he gets lazy because he thinks he’s got it in the bag, then NFL teams (who would be paying him millions) deserve to know that if possible.

  11. therealraider says: Sep 7, 2013 8:03 PM

    Whoever said Clowney was the consensus #1 pick? The Media. If Clowney had sat out a year teams would have questioned his passion for the game. Im saying it now. Teddy Bridgewater will be the #1 pick and don’t be surprised if Clowney isn’t #2.

  12. mackcarrington says: Sep 7, 2013 8:04 PM

    One great play last season made him this year’s flavor of the month.

  13. mrbigass says: Sep 7, 2013 8:07 PM

    Clowney showed enough last year to get the media shouting from the rooftops about what a beast he is.

    So now he’s on cruise control waitin’ for the big payday but it’s a double edged sword. If he cruises too much the NFL might think he’s not as good as they thought and he drops in the draft.

    If he plays hard he could get injured and again risks dropping in the draft.

    What to do……..???

  14. kordogg says: Sep 7, 2013 8:14 PM

    He is a great talent. However he looks like he has poor work ethic as he is on the sidelines more than on the field the past two games. Offenses are trying to take him out of the equation with pretty good success thus far. Also it has been in the 90′s in both South Carolina and Georgia. High humidity is hard to play in even if you’re the most well conditioned athlete. He has to impress next game in order to shake his new “laziness” title off. He has skill but needs to work harder in the offseason and putting more effort into plays it seems. Against North Carolina Tar Heels he pulled a somewhat Albert Haynesworth when he just stopped and stood there while his D tackle tried to chase the running back down. Heat might of got him but it’s still significant to mention.

  15. jeremyb91 says: Sep 7, 2013 8:17 PM

    Barkley-Brohm slide? Had both QB’s left after their junior year they would have slid in the draft because at the combine or Pro Day they would have shown their weaker arms and skills were not worthy of a 1st round pick as they were projected to be.

    Clowney is coming back from an injury is out of shape, but doing his best while he conditions his body. In a few games he should start showing the form everyone expects which shows he’ll be deserving of a high 1st if not the 1st overall pick because of his measurables and the fact he’s a super-stud defensive end. Clowney has the size and the measurements NFL scouts are looking for, Brohm & Barkely didn’t.

  16. htowntexan says: Sep 7, 2013 8:26 PM

    Johnny football will be the number 1. You heard it here first.

  17. mrtreyseven says: Sep 7, 2013 8:27 PM

    if Clowney looks average against college players how will he be such a dominant force in the league….2 games he has been in the spotlight and he came up small in both he gets winded easy and Georgia was only blocking him with one person most of the game….

  18. emperorzero says: Sep 7, 2013 8:28 PM

    This is a Catch-22 for Clowney. If he would have sat out he would have been derided as being chicken and not “loving football” for sitting out. Plus, there is no way he could have sat out a full year and still be the number one pick. Clowney is great, but he’s not that great that he could afford to miss a year of football.

  19. lawrinson20 says: Sep 7, 2013 8:36 PM

    “no compensation other than an education Clowney could have paid for on his own (a few hundred times over) after his NFL career ends”

    You don’t reach an NFL career without the benefit of a college ‘resume.’ Are we supposed to just presume that every ‘excellent high school player’ is going to make the NFL and therefore make enough money to retroactively pay for his college education?

    And, please stop chirping about coaches being paid millions. They’re adults, who went to college and paid their dues in other ways. Just like everyone else.

  20. mrtreyseven says: Sep 7, 2013 8:40 PM

    players need the 3 years to mature…or atleast try to in many facets guys are not ready to compete straight out of high school they haven’t even played NFL talent yet…I also believe the multiple years is good for fans of teams because they develop a more close knit bond, it develops the player into a smarter formidable athlete…look at the NBA when I was growing up it was common to see games go over in the 130′s, now these kids games are so under developed going up against grown men or other kids games barely hit 100…I do think players should be paid you only know a player for what 5 maybe 6 years and you tell him he can’t make money off his own name of which he was birthed with…the kids athletic ability is the reason you make bucks spread the wealth….other students aren’t risking their bodies for you so if they wanna get paid go sacrifice their body for the NCAA to make a buck

  21. mancave001 says: Sep 7, 2013 8:43 PM

    supremekingz, you can be tired of the argument all you want. These kids aren’t even allowed to have part time jobs. Their schools also make tens of millions off their play and even their likenesses. They can’t even sell their own memorabilia. It’s not right.

  22. doe22us says: Sep 7, 2013 8:54 PM

    He started reading his own press clippings and watching a little bit much on sportscenter..

  23. kenstabler says: Sep 7, 2013 8:59 PM

    How many Americans get their college tuition paid to major universities? I think 99.9% of kids out of high school do not get a free ride. They do owe something to the university because most of these guys never make it in the NFL. I commend Clowney for playing and staying in school. The school gave him the ability to show his talents on the field, and get a free education. What a great country we live in!

    Was it dumb for him to risk millions staying in school playing and risking injury when he could have finally bolted to the NFL.

    Yep, his coach is a great salesman, that is why they pay him millions too.

  24. wheels579 says: Sep 7, 2013 9:12 PM

    Classic overreaction two games into a season. Clowney admitted to being out of shape to start the season, which is entirely his fault. Plus sitting out serves as somewhat of a red flag to NFL observers, and he still would need to work out if he chose not to play, which isn’t without risk either. What then would you have him do? Sit encased in bubble wrap until April? How can you be for bold things like 18 game seasons and teams in London if you don’t believe pro prospects should play their junior seasons because something bad might happen? Also, have you seen how things are in the NBA these days? One could argue more careers have been wasted than saved there because so many went pro who were not ready. So it cuts both ways. The NFL & college football may benefit from the rules but the reality is if Clowney can’t last three years in college, he isn’t as sure of a thing for the NFL as people think.

  25. wtfpft says: Sep 7, 2013 9:12 PM

    Raiders will have the first pick, they won’t take this kid, they have to go qb. Clowney could have an amazing year but he still wouldn’t help them.

  26. bishopslappytruelove says: Sep 7, 2013 9:16 PM

    Mr. Florio, is it your desire to raise generations of Roy Tarpley clones to join the NFL?

  27. terryleather says: Sep 7, 2013 9:37 PM

    Yeah, it really did wonders for the NBA when they were letting high schoolers enter the league and spend 3 or 4 years learning how to play the game, then move on to a better team when their contracts expired. All that did was make the NBA a developmental league, with only four or five teams ever having a legitimate shot to win every year.

    Clowney just showed why he won’t be worth the first overall pick. He’s 19 years old. He has no reason to ever be out of shape. Hopefully he’ll go to the Jaguars, and not the Jets. At least then we’ll never have to hear about him again.

  28. blackhawks2010 says: Sep 7, 2013 9:37 PM

    Bubble burst…..

  29. psly2124 says: Sep 7, 2013 9:54 PM

    Overrated. He takes every other play off. I’ve watched him two straight games and maybe the laziest player I have seen in a long time. Calls out of games in key situations and has no heart. Some team will draft him high based upon his measurables and the will be very disappointed, he will be a marginal player and will float around from team to team. Each time coaches will think they can get the greatness out if him and each will fail. In all my years of watching football I never so a great player play as invisible as clowney. Which means one thing… He’s not great just a YouTube sensation.

  30. hitking60 says: Sep 7, 2013 9:57 PM

    I’m seriously starting to wonder whether all of these people posting about how unimpressive Clowney has been have watched the games. And if they have, they have completely unrealistic expectations. Or, have no cloue what’s going on on a football field. The kid had a sack, a couple TFLs, and several hurries on the QB. People, that’s not a bad game.

  31. barbeaux says: Sep 7, 2013 10:05 PM

    I got a scholarship just for having a pretty good ACT score and gpa. The 99.9% have to pay full price is wrong. There’s a fair number of academic scholarships, band scholarships, other sports scholarships, grants etc.

  32. paychrisjohnson28 says: Sep 7, 2013 10:14 PM

    Clowney is an NFL Bust waiting to happen, a bust the size of Aaron Curry’s laziness after getting paid and no motivation after having all the $$$ in the bank like Albert Haynesworth…he isn’t hungry…does he look like he is so far this season? Talent is one thing…motivation, competitive desire and character is another thing entirely…

  33. wheels579 says: Sep 7, 2013 10:23 PM

    Here’s something else to chew on: Schools (or the NCAA) could only pay players peanuts compared to NFL salaries. So paying college athletes does little to no good as opposed to insurance policies for catastrophic injuries. The NBA, NHL, & MLB all have developmental leagues, the NFL does not, so most who declare will be out of the league quickly if they aren’t immediately ready. So for every Clowney you’ll have at least 10-20 players jump to the NFL who aren’t ready with no safety net and that will damage both pro & college football in the long run. Think it’s tough to find franchise QBs now?

  34. badintentions11 says: Sep 7, 2013 10:29 PM

    Clowney has great measurables, size, speed, power…but does he have heart? technique? motor? conditioning? He is an awesome talent, which he’ll make flash plays off of his athleticism alone, but without the intangibles his production won’t match his talent.

    I think he got over hyped. He is a beast physically, but he is not the Reggie White of college football.

    With that being said, offenses do gameplan around him as they should, but 4th and about 3 in the UGA game today with the game on the line and he is on the sidelines?? We’re talking possibly the no. 1 pick in the draft and preseason Heisman candidate…on the bench on 4th and a few yards for the game???

  35. MyTeamsAllStink says: Sep 7, 2013 10:33 PM

    Overhyped and overrated.Which means the Raiders will draft him

  36. pftneedsperspective says: Sep 7, 2013 10:44 PM

    I think this is a strength, not a weakness, of the NFL relationship with the NCAA. Under most circumstances, you will be required to show a substantive body of work spanning multiple seasons to earn the attention of NFL teams. I don’t shed any tears that Clowney didn’t come out of the gate performing as a number one pick (and as many have already suggested, this was largely a mantle placed on him by the media after one impressive highlight). And it is certainly not compelling enough of a case to make one rethink the incentive structure of the NCAA rules, screwed up in many regards as though they may be.

    And I hope even the PFT writers aren’t naive enough to be tempted to draw the conclusion that the “three years removed from high school before being drafted” requirement is bogus from the Clowney situation. Part of me would honestly like to see that requirement lifted, just to show people how ridiculous it would be. Just imagine Patrick Willis or James Harrison laying the wood on some skinny 18 year old slot receiver.

  37. micknangold says: Sep 7, 2013 11:30 PM

    Clowney’s hype is not based off one play. He’s been outstanding since his freshman year.

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