Amid talk that South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney’s draft stock may be sliding, Clowney said today that anyone who thinks he’s not working hard to help his team is wrong.
Clowney, who missed Saturday’s game with a rib injury, said he isn’t sitting out in an attempt to protect his NFL draft status. Instead, Clowney said, he’s simply trying to help the Gamecocks win.
“I’m not looking to sit out. I’m not that type of guy. I’m fully committed I’m here for the team,” Clowney said. “I’m in college. I’m playing for this university right now.”
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier suggested after Clowney missed last week that Clowney might not want to play. Clowney says that’s not the case, although he said in hindsight he wishes he had told South Carolina’s coaches and medical staff how much pain he was in during the week, so that they would have been better prepared for the possibility that he wouldn’t play.
“It was just really a miscommunication between me and the coaches and trainers. I should have handled it different,” Clowney said.
For his part, Spurrier admitted that he didn’t handle Clowney’s absence from last week’s game well, and Spurrier said he’s grateful for having had the opportunity to coach Clowney.
“If he never plays another snap here, we all should be thankful and appreciative that he came to South Carolina,” Spurrier said. “He’s played his part tremendously. I think we’re 26-5 since he suited up for South Carolina. I’m all for Jadeveon and his future. And when he’s ready to play we’re going to put him out there.”
Spurrier also noted that Clowney has made a lot of money for the school. Unfortunately for Clowney, the NFL’s draft rules mean that he can’t make any money for himself until he’s finished with his third year of college. Clowney says he’s all in for that third year at South Carolina before he starts making his NFL millions.