There has been a lot of talk in the media about the possibility and viability of USC defensive end Jadeveon Clowney sitting out his junior season to protect himself from a serious injury that could cost him valuable slot money in the 2014 draft. Steve Spurrier has heard the talk, but he’s not at all concerned about Clowney not suiting up for the Garnet and Black next season.
“Jadeveon is a football player and our rules are you play three and you go pro and that’s what he’s going to do,” Spurrier said in an interview with ESPN’s Reece Davis at the USC basketball game Thursday. “We knew that from two years ago when he announced he’s coming with us. You know football players and being on a team is special. I mean he can’t sit out and do nothing, that’s no fun”.
Spurrier makes a solid point here. There is no guarantee sitting out next season would protect Clowney’s high draft status any more than there is evidence playing next season will hurt it. Sure there is always a chance for a catastrophic injury on the field, but there have been more than a few players to suffer serious knee injuries doing non-contact training as well. Plus, sitting out a year would almost certainly force Clowney to prove he’s still in shape at the 2014 NFL Combine. What if he pulled a hammy training and ran a poor 40 in Indianapolis and teams were nervous about taking a guy that hasn’t played in a year and performed poorly in Indy? That is putting a lot of stock in the combine. Many elite college players have the luxury of skipping the drills at the combine and rest of their laurels from the season.
Bottom line is there is no fail proof way to protect yourself for a draft that is over a year away so you might as well play it out. He is a football player after all. Clowney has a legacy to think about as well.
“By playing three years and giving all he’s for our University he’s always go a home to come back to, Spurrier said. “Our fans love him and they’re going to love him after he plays next year. So sometimes you have to think five, 10, you know, 15, 20 years down the road and Jadveon I think is smart enough to do that.”
Clowney’s future plans and options has made for an interesting discussion and debate. We talked about this a lot over a month ago but it gained national steam this week when ESPN decided to make it an issue and in true ESPN fashion they brought it to the next level. One of the four letter network’s talking heads actually called Steve Spurrier selfish for playing Clowney next season. Apparently playing a healthy and eligible college football player is selfish now.
Spurrier is normally pretty thin skinned when it comes to comments like that (see Morris, Ron) but it appears the HBC is taking all of this in stride.
“They got to have something to talk about. Somebody wrote an article the other day that Jadeveon maybe should just sit out and maybe not ever get in a car because might get it a car wreck…just lay low for a year and he’s going to be a first round draft pick, but a lot of guys..hey Sam Bradford got hurt and he was the first pick overall. I don’t think Jadveon wants to do that but it gives them something to talk about anyway.”