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Clowney ‘situation’ brewing in South Carolina?

Kentucky v South Carolina Getty Images

In the offseason, there were some who thought Jadeveon Clowney would — or should — sit out the 2013 season in order to protect his presumptive status as the No. 1 overall pick of the 2014 draft.

Just prior to South Carolina’s game with Kentucky Saturday night, the All-American made a decision that has some thinking along those lines yet again.

The defensive end did not play in the Gamecocks’ win, telling the coaching staff that his bruised ribs, which kept him out of practice Thursday, would not allow him to get on the field.  Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward called Clowney’s decision a surprise, saying he thought the lineman would be available.

Ward did not find out he wouldn’t have Clowney at his disposal until shortly before kickoff.

It was head coach Steve Spurrier, though, who seemed the most perturbed in his postgame talk with the media.  The OBC began the Clowney round of questioning by stating “I don’t want to get into all of that,” so of course he proceeded to get into all of that.  From GoGamecocks.com:

“I will just say he told me he couldn’t play. That his ribs hurt, couldn’t run. Said ‘I can’t play.’ I said, that’s fine, you don’t have to play. We’ll move on. He may not be able to play next week, I don’t know. We’re not going to worry about it, I can assure you that if he wants to play, we’ll welcome him to come play for the team if he wants to.

“If he doesn’t want to play, he doesn’t have to play, simple as that. We were thinking he was going to suit up and play. He did not practice Thursday. Couldn’t run. Said he couldn’t play. Any time a player says he’s hurt, can’t play, who are we to question? He doesn’t play.”

This is the second time in less than two months that Spurrier has used very public snark when it came to a Clowney injury.  During summer camp in mid-August, Clowney and several teammates were the targets or Spurrier’s words, with the coach sending thinly-veiled threats that they would sit out the opener if they didn’t get back on the practice field.

“We’ve got a bunch of hurt guys who act like they are really hurt so right now they may not play.” Spurrier said at the time. “I’ll handle those guys. We’re not depending on them. We can still field a team.”

Asked after the game if he will play against Arkansas next Saturday, Clowney said, “I don’t know.”  When asked the same question, Ward said, “We’ll see.”

In fairness to Clowney, he dealt with the shoulder issue that Spurrier downplayed and now is apparently struggling with what he says is a rib issue.  Additionally, he’ll undergo surgery following the 2013 season to take care of bone spurs that he’s dealt with since his high school days.

Whether because of the injuries or other factors, Clowney has not had the type of statistical season expected from a player who was a preseason Heisman favorite.  Add in this latest off-field drama and, well, as talented as Clowney is, the fact that he will bolt for the NFL draft next April may be a blessing in disguise for all involved.

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32 Responses to “Clowney ‘situation’ brewing in South Carolina?”
  1. woebegong says: Oct 6, 2013 8:11 AM

    It is possible that Ole Stevie Wonders quips and bad mouthing his players to try and motivate them, has started to have the reverse effect. I think maybe he needs to quit being so public about his teams problems and not be so public about his displeasure.
    It doesn’t help either that Clowney bought into all of the hype about himself and I think, thought he was a superman. He has a little growing up to do, because at the next level, no matter how good he can be or how much potential he has, it will be up to him to show it all over again. Theses guys in the NFL have been known to humble more than one Heisman hopeful and winner for that fact. All of the players in this league are good so they aren’t going to sit around and act like they are in awe of what he did in college. Coaches will not put up with bad attitudes either.

  2. cometkazie says: Oct 6, 2013 9:16 AM

    John Taylor wrote:
    Additionally, he’ll undergo surgery following the 2013 season to take care of bone spurs that he’s dealt with since his high school days.
    +-+-+
    Who will be paying for this?

    Preexisting condition from “high school”?

    I think he isn’t living up to expectations and is blaming whatever. Maybe he just isn’t that excellent? Another Mante Teo?

  3. floridacock says: Oct 6, 2013 9:19 AM

    It is also possible that someone like JayZ has gotten in the kids head again and he has decided to tank the season. He has had a mediocre year so far and been under incredible scrutiny. However he is losing, not gaining points in the NFL’s mind if this proves to be the case. Still will be a top 5 pick. Then again, the issues may be legit and he will come back and have a monster second half of the season, as he did last year. SC’s problems are with the LB’s and DB’s and defensive coaching. Talent is there, smarts are not.

  4. wryly1 says: Oct 6, 2013 9:28 AM

    Clowney is informing the NFL that he’s a diva, is soft and not a team player. They thank him. It will cost him millions and save them millions

  5. jobber33 says: Oct 6, 2013 9:30 AM

    Clowney is doing now what pros have been doing for years. Rosevelt Colvin for example in 2002 was going to be a free agent so he got his 10.5 sacks with 4 or 5 games to go in the season then just half assed it the rest of the season so he didn’t get hurt and mess up his up coming contract. It worked and the Pats signed him. Receivers do it all the time to. Get their catches and some touchdowns the start to run out of bounds to avoid contact and getting hurt to get the big deal or not even raise their hands to catch the ball. I hope the pros see this and this “clown” drops to the second round but my guess is he will still go top 5 and the next time his contract is up, he will pull the same crap.

  6. derekgorgonstar says: Oct 6, 2013 9:37 AM

    But I thought he was gonna win the Heisman.

  7. skwackquackwoof says: Oct 6, 2013 9:41 AM

    He hasn’t shown anything at all this year except a questionable work ethic and poor attitude. If you combine all of that with notable deteriorating performance I don’t see him getting drafted too high. You can’t tell me that the other teams’ gameplan accounts for that. He is a d lineman not a lockdown corner. He’s had an impact on games in the past, but so did Aaron Hernandez.

  8. woebegong says: Oct 6, 2013 9:52 AM

    I think he is a middle to low first rounder still, but it will be with a team that is willing to take a chance and has some cap money to spend. The owners and GM’s of these clubs seem to be really tightening their budgets a lot more these past few years, and he is looking more and more like an athlete with great raw talent, but one that might have some questionable work ethics and attitude. I think he needs to realize he is shooting himself in the foot, and not being willing to work through some pain, which is a part of football, and help his team, doesn’t endear him to coaches, owners or team mates. I think he needs to grow up a little. He could have learned a lot from his former team mate Larrimore.

  9. psly2124 says: Oct 6, 2013 10:00 AM

    I’ve called lazy and soft since the North Carolina game. Most overrated prospect since Keith mccants. This guy is a spitting image of rolando McClain. Complete washout at the next level. Doesn’t have the motor or motivation to be successful at the next level.

  10. spreadthecheese says: Oct 6, 2013 10:07 AM

    I’m not a big fan of the “sit out” theory (not saying Clowney is doing it, just speaking to it in general). I get trying to protect yourself for the future but not playing when you should would be a red flag if I was an NFL general manager. If he’s willing to do it at South Carolina, what would stop him from doing it in the NFL? If he’s in a contract year and knows he’s going to get paid, is he going to sit out games to protect himself?

    Just play the game. There’s always a risk of injury but there’s no reason to Prevent D your way into the NFL.

  11. onbucky96 says: Oct 6, 2013 10:08 AM

    JaDeaveon Quitty. What a punk. I bet his palms have been greased by agents(Jay-Z anyone?) so he’s going into Operation Shutdown. Good luck to whomever drafts this quitter.

  12. pnupe2k says: Oct 6, 2013 10:11 AM

    All of you experts are silly. This guy is not a troubled kid with a poor work ethic. Have you noticed how they use him? It is easy to double him and run the play in the other direction. If his interviews are halfway decent he will be drafted very high since he must always be accounted for.

  13. tide4life says: Oct 6, 2013 10:13 AM

    Here in SC, the conventional wisdom amongst some folks who have known Clowney and seen him play in HS, is that this kid needs a strong hand on the reigns, with an equal mixture of discipline and concern. Ain’t nobody gonna get the full, caring attention of Steve Spurrier but Steve Spurrier. He can neither handle nor inspire people, and his only tools are his ever-present snark and an unhesitant willingness to engage in public humiliation. Spurrier is the sort of a$$hole who makes Nick Saban look like Anthony Robbins, and his only interest in Clowney- or any other player of his- is in their ability to help ensure he keeps his USC-funded membership at Augusta National.

  14. woebegong says: Oct 6, 2013 10:48 AM

    I really think the biggest problem Spurrier has, is his attitude hasn’t changed with the times when it comes to dealing with players these days. Kids take a different attitude and need different motivation these days to get going and Stevie believes in the coaching style of bullying. There are effectively three types of leaders in this world, and unfortunately, his autocracy doesn’t work as well as it used to work. It didn’t work with Pro. players and it seems to be failing a little more over time, in dealing with big time college players as well now. These kids read the headlines and understand they make a lot of money for their respective universities, and they don’t stop to think that they have a chance at a free education, and also a bright future in the Pros. after a few minor leagfue seasons in college, so it is a kind of symbiotic relationship. That being said, it still requires a coach that understands kids of today, not as they were when he was playing college ball.

  15. jimbo75025 says: Oct 6, 2013 10:56 AM

    pnupe2k says:Oct 6, 2013 10:11 AM

    If his interviews are halfway decent he will be drafted very high since he must always be accounted for.
    ————
    In the NFL, everyone must be accounted for-pretty much everyone there is an otherworldly talent.

    Personally, I see Clowneys draft stock dropping week by week. He is just not lighting it up vs what by NFL standards would be considered inferior competition. Even with the new CBA, a top 5-10 pick is very different than a pick 25 $ wise so team are being a bit more careful.

    I see a Glenn Dorsey-esque career for Clowney. Decent player who hangs around the league but not someone who has his name called every 3 plays.

  16. 700levelvet says: Oct 6, 2013 11:00 AM

    So… You are saying somebody is prepared to offer him more money than he’s making now? Then by all means….TANK

  17. bringingthepain says: Oct 6, 2013 11:08 AM

    Last paragraph says it all. After one good hit on a Michigan player (by the way, clowny wasn’t even blocked), ESPN singing his praises all spring and summer, and now performing badly, it would seem he realizes that his draft stock is going down, so lets sit out. Maybe no one will notice in the NFL if I hide out and not under perform. ESPN makes these kids celebrities on one hit and the kids soak it all up. Clowney said all quarterbacks were scared of him. What are they scared of, that they might bump into him on the sideline. Not much of a chance on the field.

  18. keltictim says: Oct 6, 2013 11:18 AM

    I’m sorry he’s not living up to expectations? Are you guys watching the games or going by stats. Here’s a hint there’s a reason your typing on a keyboard and not providing tips to pro teams. The kid gets double teamed just about every play and even then they run away from him. Pro scouts see this. And to the tide fella who claims to be in South Carolina im here in columbia right on hardscrabble my wife’s best friend taught him in high school and I’ve never heard the crap your saying. But of course a bama fan would know that kind of inside info I guess. He is hurt and why risk further injury against Kentucky. Did it look like we needed him. I’m not saying he could have played and didn’t I’m saying he said he couldn’t and there’s no reason to not take that at face value. If he had no intention of playing why wait till the last second he tried to go and couldn’t.

  19. delashmit says: Oct 6, 2013 11:25 AM

    Now Spurrier has a DIVA on the team. He will probably just bench him.

  20. flatlander22 says: Oct 6, 2013 11:50 AM

    Unless you are Clowney’s doctor, you are just speculating or stating an opinion, so I will state mine. I think he is laying out some. Believe he is hurt but think he is laying out to protect that future pro contract. Given the current state of affairs today, don’t know that I blame him. I believe I read he was insured against injury but it would not compare to the $ in a first rounder contract. If he did have a career ending injury, there is not a pro team out there that would give him 20 million dollars since he probably would have gotten it if he was healthy and SC certainly won’t give it to him. That one is a rock and a hard place. University gets millions from football and he gets a scholarship. Of course that is a situation all players deal with. Second is although he is good, I think he and everyone else bought into the Heisman hype and all the fame from that one hit in that bowl game. Great hit, great video but one hit does not a career make. He is not playing at the level other great linemen and linebackers played at in college. He has the physical tools but times have changed for motivation. Final take is that with millions on the line he is protecting that and being a bit of a diva by not practicing if he doesn’t “feel like it”.

  21. dcroz says: Oct 6, 2013 12:01 PM

    The NFL really isn’t going to care much whether he plays the diva for Spurrier. The scouts know that Clowney is no longer interested in putting his body at risk week after week without getting paid big bucks for it, so they will reserve any judgment on him until the combine. NFL teams take risks on prima donnas all the time, because if they pan out on the field, they can usually put up with the attitude off of it. It goes with the territory.

    As for Spurrier himself, the OBC needs to retire before he suffers a Bobby Bowden/Joe Paterno legend-tarnishing decline (and I’m not talking about the business with Sandusky in the latter’s case). His shtick may have worked in the past with motivating players, but it isn’t now. Bear Bryant had the same issue in the late-1960s when the Depression/WWII-era kids who responded well to drill instructor-style chewings and drills gave way to the pampered Baby Boomers who responded poorly to it. He was able to morph into a kindly, grandfatherly-type figure that bought him another decade of success, but he was also only in his late-50s at the time. Spurrier is pushing 70 and probably can’t change now; he needs to start talking with the AD about finding a quality replacement so he can make a smooth transition before all the great things he’s done at South Carolina collapse on top of him.

  22. normtide says: Oct 6, 2013 12:37 PM

    On the whole, three best players in the NFL are guys that love the game. Not sure this kid does.

  23. mediocrebob says: Oct 6, 2013 12:48 PM

    @comet-

    A) Manti… I don’t know who Mante Te’o is.

    B) Te’o fulfilled above and beyond at Notre Dame. I believe this is his first game in the NFL today due to injury in ore season. Not sure you could fairly compare Te’o and the premadonna that is Clowney

  24. louhudson23 says: Oct 6, 2013 1:11 PM

    It all Nick Saban’s fault for not being tall enough…

  25. irishdodger says: Oct 6, 2013 2:12 PM

    @Normtide:

    You just hit on it. I believe most of the pros play for the cash while the “love of the game” left them somewhere between HS & college. Not saying I blame them, but it definitely shows. Look at Felix Jones of the Steelers. He could be a stud in the NFL if he cared. In college at Fayetteville, he was routinely seen sitting on the front porch smoking weed. He knows football is his ticket & it’s all he can do. I don’t begrudge him for it but I believe his lack of love for the game makes players like him treat it as a job. Great job if you can get it.

  26. geodude11 says: Oct 6, 2013 3:19 PM

    He’s just biding his time this last year in college. Somehow this is related to rookie contract values in the NFL, his position is top 5 irregardless of 2013 or 2014. Maybe he had a change of heart on the potential for injury after the commit/non-commit deadline last year. His heart isn’t in S. Carolina, it’s already on Sunday.

  27. matt24bucs says: Oct 6, 2013 4:18 PM

    I just shake my head in amazement with all the comments that say that when one of these immature, goofball athletes screws up- Josh Freemon, Clowney- its always the coaches fault! It’s always someone else’s fault- not theirs.

  28. raysfan1 says: Oct 6, 2013 11:17 PM

    If Clowney in fact has bruised ribs, those can take 4 weeks to heal. Lifting, pushing, and pulling aggravate the pain, which can be intense. Obviously all those motions are needed by a defensive lineman to try to defeat the blockers. Wearing a flak vest helps mitigate pain from impact which is why backs are often able to play through the pain of bruised ribs. The vest does zero to prevent the pain from lifting/pushing/pulling.

    Maybe the team is just calling it bruised ribs, or maybe he really has this injury, one I have treated many times. Maybe Spurrier is trying to needle his player into performance or maybe he is just frustrated because a key player has what he knows to be a painful, nagging injury that may not respond quickly.

    However, everyone calling him soft or accusing him of dogging it for either this or the bone spurs/plantar fasciitis in his feet really ought to try these injuries out themselves and then see how they feel about it.

  29. raysfan1 says: Oct 6, 2013 11:23 PM

    JT–Don’t take my word for it, talk to other medical professionals you know. I’ve had patients who couldn’t pick up a gallon of milk without excruciating pain after sustaining bruised ribs. I have seen the pain last from 1-4 weeks, and I really do not see how any lineman can play through it.

  30. jtbsteeler says: Oct 7, 2013 2:33 PM

    Hold him out until the Florida game. Sit him again then suit him up for Clemson.

    No worries…

  31. dhardy8207 says: Oct 8, 2013 11:01 AM

    Ayone on here ever had bruised/broken ribs? I can tell you breathing is a chore. Any activity that causes the expansion of the chest (labored breathing after exercise) can cause excruciating pain and just hope and pray you don’t have the need to cough because I’ve seen grown men come to tears.

    All kinds of speculation here, Clowney could be crying wolf and just dragging his feet till the end of the season, or he could seriously be concerned and rightfully cautious about re-injury. However, Spurier could just be miffed that his “star defensive” player is still absent from the active roster. I think there are a few players that he might have bet the bank on this season (figuratively speaking of course) and is publicly calling him out for refusing to play until he’s ready.

    Spurier knows how to manipulate the press and putting a negative tint to the situation he could be thinking will weigh heavy on Clowney’s thoughts of how this could affect his draft and force him to play.

  32. jbaxt says: Oct 8, 2013 4:59 PM

    I would take Clowney over fake dead girlfriend guy every day of the week.

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