HOUSTON (SPORTSRADIO 610) — If Jadeveon Clowney has ever had a problem with effort, Mike Vrabel hasn’t noticed.
Heading into this week’s game against the Tennessee Titans, the Houston Texans defensive coordinator said he’s always considered Clowney a high motor player, and doesn’t get that narrative.
“I don’t think there’s ever been an issue with trying to get JD to understand that he’s gotta play with intensity,” Vrabel said. “He plays hard. He plays relentless.”
Where did that label come from?
It started when he was in college.
Steve Spurrier, then South Carolina’s head coach, questioned Clowney multiple times. He said he didn’t always give 100 percent effort in practice. He doubted his fitness. When Clowney missed a game against Kentucky in 2013, Spurrier insinuated at his post game press conference that Clowney could’ve played.
It came to a head that February, when Spurrier told the NFL Network that Clowney’s work ethic was simply “OK.”
Fair or not, that perception has lingered.
Even until today.
Clowney has given us plenty of reason to think otherwise.
Plays like when he nearly caught wide receiver Brandon LaFell on an 86 yard touchdown in last year’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals. His fumble recovery in this year’s win over the Bengals. His scoop and score in this year’s loss to the New England Patriots.
Plays he simply doesn’t make if he’s not trying.
Whatever the perception outside the building, though, Vrabel said the team acknowledges and appreciates his effort.
“I think what he’s doing is understanding he’s gotta take care of his body,” Vrabel said. “We’ve gotta do a good job of taking care of him. … But as long as he’s taking care of his body, you’ll see great effort on Sunday.”