The stories the next couple of days will be about how Clowney is somehow a sneaky player who kept his injury hidden and lied to the media about the injury. We were at the interview after Clowney returned to the Texans after his surgery in Philadelphia to repair his sports hernia.
When Clowney was introduced that day, the questions were all about his hernia, his recovery time and if he was going to be healthy for training camp. Clowney addressed the media concerning his injury.
Clowney's Quotes to the Media for the first time after the surgery.
(How long had he been dealing with the groin issue.)
"When I got here that was one of the issues. I just wanted to get it taken care of."
(If he had it prior to coming to Houston)
No. Just when I got here they just they wanted to check it out. I told them it was a little pain. They said we don't want it to linger heading into the season. So we had it taken care before the season.
(Was it an issue last season at South Carolina)
(On restrictions when training camp arrives.)
I can't tell you that right now. I am going to rehab everyday and looking forward to getting better and ready for camp.
(On if the Texans gave him a timetable for his return.)
"We are taking it one day at a time and come in everyday to get healthy."
Clowney's answer no doubt were back and forth and he answered them the best he could. He was forth coming with the information he gave to the Houston media but with Gil Brandt he let his guard down and admitted he played with an injury his junior season.
The question he was asked by the Houston media if the injury was an issue at South Carolina he answered "no." To Clowney the injury was not an issue he did not say anything about not playing with the injury.
If anything, Texans fans should be impressed with their newest outside linebacker in how he played through an injury his entire junior season (if it was a groin or hernia). Critics were tough on Clowney with his down season which only produced three quarterback sacks, but the signs for the poor year point to his injury which he thought was a groin pull.
Despite the injury, Clowney lit up the NFL Combine and his Pro Day at South Carolina that solidified his spot as the top selection. Even when Clowney arrived to rookie mini-camp and participated in 8 days of OTAs, he showed zero signs of an injury issue. It came as a surprise to see Clowney absent from practice and see Head Coach Bill O'Brien address his absence with the news he already had surgery to repair the hernia.
In no way was Clowney trying to deceive the Texans or anyone in the draft despite what reports have said. When the injury occurred is a non factor and Clowney had little idea that his groin discomfort was a sports hernia. With so much riding on the potential #1 overall selection for the NFL draft, how he played at South Carolina and any signs of injury concerns would have been another red flag. Now the red flags of him being lazy and his production being down in 2013 may now have a real reason.
Trying to turn Clowney into some sort of liar or anything of that matter is not accurate in our book. Clowney did everything possible to prove he was the right pick for the Texans and gutting out an injury his junior season is more of a reason to like his mental makeup for the NFL level. To label anything about Clowney that is negative is not fair at this point especially with zero games played in the NFL. He and the Texans taking care of his injury and getting him ready for week one of the season is all that matters in the long run.