Jadeveon Clowney was the No. 1 overall choice in 2014, and he has made three Pro Bowls in his career. Clowney has shown flashes of greatness for sure.
But the pass rusher has missed 29 games for injury in seven seasons, has never had double-digit sacks in a season, has never made All-Pro and has played for four teams. So it’s fair to surmise that it’s been mostly untapped potential for Clowney in his NFL career thus far.
Clowney, though, is only 28.
“I don’t think I’ve reached my potential,” Clowney said, via Tom Withers of the Associated Press. “Every time I get going, I get hurt and something happens. I’ve fallen back and taken time off.
“Hopefully, this year I just keep going up and getting better.”
Clowney signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the Browns in April, and the team has seen the best of him in training camp.
“I’m just trying to make plays, be flashy,” Clowney said. “Show those guys I’m still me.”
Injuries have prevented Clowney from showing he’s still the same dominant player that flattened Michigan running back Vincent Smith in the Outback Bowl. Or the one who made five solo tackles, five quarterback hits, one sack and returned a fumble he forced and recovered for a touchdown against the 49ers in 2019.
Clowney played through a sports hernia injury his final season at South Carolina and injured his right knee in his first NFL game with the Texans and later needed microfracture surgery. He has had foot ailments, elbow strains, concussions, lower back problems, groin strains and another sports hernia in his NFL career.
He had season-ending surgery on his left knee after eight games last season in Tennessee.
Clowney feels good now, and he looks good now.
“When you are healthy, you have a lot of fun,” Clowney said. “When you have been playing for seven years, and I have been dealing with injuries seven years, it is kind of not fun being out there, but when you are taking care of your body, you are in good health and you know what you love.
“It’s fun and exciting to be out there moving around and feeling good.”