South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney is tired of hearing that he takes plays off and disappointed during his junior campaign.
When they say that, I take that as spit in the face, really, Clowney told NFL Network. I wouldn t question that about me personally. I love the game and don t think I take plays off. And I wouldn t question how much I love it because I wouldn t be playing this game if I didn t love it.
I had the opportunity to go to school and play football, and I did. I had the opportunity to sit out last year like everybody was talking about, but I didn t. I wanted to play football.
Clowney is generally considered the No. 1 overall prospect for May s NFL draft. The questions about his effort on the field extend to whether or not it will cause him to slide down draft boards.
Similar questions were raised about eight-time Pro Bowler Julius Peppers before the Carolina Panthers made him the No. 2 overall pick in 2002.
What frustrates people sometimes is you don t necessarily see it play in and play out, but it s very rare to find players of that ability that can make game-changing plays like he can, former Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney told NFL.com s Chase Goodbread. What is being said about Clowney was being said exactly about Julius Peppers. ... We had two months knowing we were on the clock. The question was, does Julius Peppers play with the motor, does he have the energy?
One team not questioning Clowney s motor is the Houston Texans, who happen to own the No. 1 overall pick. Texans head coach Bill O Brien staunchly supported Clowney when he was asked the defensive end at the NFL s owners meetings.
The Texans are expected to consider Clowney along with UCF QB Blake Bortles, Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel and Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater for the No. 1 selection.
If the Texans decide to pass on Clowney, the Atlanta Falcons are contemplating the possibility of trading with the St. Louis Rams to acquire the No. 2 overall pick in order to select the defensive end.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders round out the Top 5 selections, and each franchise will consider selecting Clowney.
People tell me every day something new, Clowney told the Charlotte Observer. They see me going No. 5, 4, 3, 2 or 1. I just have to wait til that day comes. Everyone, just stop telling me about it.
Growing up, I just wanted to play in the NFL. I didn t know all this was going to come with it.