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Jadeveon Clowney fires back at critics.

  • Jim Racalto
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(Credit: SI)

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is widely regarded as the best defensive prospect in May’s NFL Draft, despite posting career low numbers this past season. Only posting three sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss created a negative perception about Clowney’s work ethic and opened the door for some harsh criticism.

In an interview with Yahoo Sports, Clowney was finally able to defend himself:

“When I walked into the meeting rooms, all my coaches said, ‘You’re playing’ and ‘Keep playing hard,’ ” Clowney told the website. “If you watch our tapes, everybody can see I’m playing hard. Guys that don’t know anything. … People expect me to get five sacks, 10 tackles for loss every game, but that wasn’t going to happen the way teams were playing me.

Anyone who watches game tape could see that Clowney, at 6 foot 6 and 274 pounds, was often the target of double and triple teams. He also played through bone spurs. Those uninitiated to these facts made Clowney the target of criticism, which he says was completely unwarranted:

“I kind of laughed at it,” Clowney told Yahoo! Sports. “People are going to say what they want to say. I bet half of the people that are talking can’t play football. They just see what they see, or don’t know nothing about the game. I just get a laugh out of it.”

Fortunately, Clowney can now put all that nonsense behind him and concentrate on the NFL Scouting Combine and subsequently the draft. He will still no doubt be a top-five pick and make an immediate defensive impact wherever he ends up.

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