After a breakout season for the Houston Texans, Jadeveon Clowney is already looking to build off a strong 2016 season in which his good health allowed him to capitalize against opposing offense. Clowney was able to garner Pro Bowl honors after posting 52 total tackles with 16 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, and 17 quarterback hits. Add in how opposing offenses game planned for Clowney week to week, and his contribution to creating the top defense in the NFL was impressive.
“I always felt as long as I could get healthy to the point where I could physically play, I could take over a game, dominate game,” Clowney said in an interview at Live at 51 “I always told the guys, ‘just wait until next year, wait until next year. I am going to be healthy and ready to go,' and it was a healthy season for me.”
Clowney was held out of two regular season games due to coaches’ decisions and played most of the season with a cast hand and braced left elbow. Then, after the season, he underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee, playing through pain and showing how far he has come in three seasons as a NFL player.
“Well, we knew he was a great player and there was never any question about that,” Texans owner Bob McNair said of Clowney during the week-long build up to the Super Bowl. “He hadn’t been healthy the first two years. He had a number of injuries. He had to learn how to be a professional in the NFL and he’s done that and he matured and he is much more comfortable with the whole process of, you know, what you have to go through physically and mentally.”
His work is just starting and Clowney is now focused on how to take an even bigger step in 2017. Training in both Houston and South Carolina during the off-season, Clowney wants to stay close to his family throughout the break. Clowney feels early anticipation about the Texans putting together the defense with a healthy J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, and himself, led by new defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel.
“I am going to train hard and work on my pass rush again because I am just trying to figure out my way to stay healthy and keep taking care of my body,” Clowney explained. “That is the only thing I have to worry about is taking care of my body, as long as I do that, football is the easy part.”
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