Yes, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has opted not to assume any additional injury risk in advance of next month’s draft. With one small caveat.
“He may do one more thing, for one team, maybe a five-minute workout,” agent Bus Cook told USA Today. “It doesn’t make sense to do more than that, given the fact of what happened to the Clemson kid. If they weren’t at the Pro Day or Combine, where are they?”
So what will Clowney do in those five minutes?
“Just say there will be no heavy lifting,” Cook told Jarrett Bell of USA Today. “Nothing that will risk injury.”
If Clowney was concerned about injury, he shouldn’t have played at all in 2013. Clowney quite possibly was perceived to be taking it easy last year because he was actually playing it safe. Not wired to skip a season, Clowney nevertheless wanted to emerge from his final year of uncompensated football healthy enough to be one of the first players drafted in 2014.
Of course, Cook disputes the idea that Clowney experienced a dip in production last year.
“At the Senior Bowl, two NFL scouts who have been around for a long time came to me and said, ‘Bus, this business about this kid not going all-out is not the case,'” Cook said. “One of them said, ‘Please, tell me what games are they referring to?'”
The notion that 2013 Clowney wasn’t the same guy as 2012 Clowney seems to be a given. Fueling that perception/reality were the passive-aggressive comments from coach Steve Spurrier about Clowney’s work ethic.
Still, Clowney has shown what he can do. And the Texans or the Rams or the Jaguars or the Browns (if he makes it past the first three) will be smart enough to realize that Clowney was in a no-win situation last year, forced to stay in school and understandably concerned about what could happen to his draft stock if suffered the same fate as former South Carolina teammate Marcus Lattimore.
At a time when none of the other players in the draft pool look to be sure-fire success stories at the next level, Clowney could be the best option at the top. Which may be why some anonymous scouts are hoping to raise just enough concern about Clowney to prompt him to slide into the draft slots occupied by their teams.