WHITE SULFUR SPRINGS, WV (CBS HOUSTON) — Jadeveon Clowney heard his haters early on in his career.
He’s looking to prove them wrong.
After Houston Texans training camp practice on Friday, the former No. 1 overall pick and 2016 Pro Bowler said he remembers when fans and media called him a bust, and uses it as motivation.
“I keep it on my shoulder,” Clowney said. “I know how it was a couple of years ago, how people were talking about me. So every day I step on the field, I just take that and put it in the back of my head and grind, and work through everything I’ve got going on that day.”
Clowney’s early struggles can mostly be chalked up to injury. He was lost for the year in 2014 with multiple knee injuries. He spent most of 2015 trying to get back to the player he was before.
Still, many questioned things like work ethic. Heart. Love of the game. Even after Clowney drew rave reviews from coaches and won the team’s 2015 Ed Block Courage Award, which is voted on by teammates and given to the players who serve as role models around the building.
Were there any digs that stuck out in particular?
“Probably that I’m a bust,” Clowney. “That one kind of gave me, like, Alright. Let’s go to work. Let’s really, really go to work. Get up off this couch a couple years back. Just to prove to them guys — it wasn’t really to prove to them. I didn’t want to let my family and everybody down. And my teammates. They already knew what I had in me. I came to camp, had a good camp early on before I got hurt, and they were just like, Just get back healthy. We know what you can be. They stuck with me, and I worked my tail off to get back.”
Coming off a breakout season, where he had career highs in tackles, sacks, forced fumbles, games played and games started, Clowney said he’s doing everything he can to take his game to the next level.
“I think I can be very good,” Clowney said. “It’s all about how much work I put in. I’ve already got god-given talents. The work has to take my game to another level. I see that, and I’m just going to work every day.”
Have we seen the best of him?
“I don’t think so, Clowney said. “There’s a lot more in this tank. I’m looking forward to the season, coming out here and working every day, and just keep getting better and have a great season this year, hopefully.”