Clowney has fun with Browns and bond with Garrett
BEREA, Ohio (AP) – Jadeveon Clowney burst from her three-point position, circled around a few tackle dummies and celebrated finishing first in a drill by pushing her index finger up in the air and screaming loudly.
By all accounts, he’s happy, healthy and hungry with the Cleveland Browns.
And, for the first time in his professional career, Clowney has a teammate who is his mirror image, a defensive lineman who shares many of his bizarre skills – All-Pro Myles Garrett, another No.1 pick.
Cleveland has a terrifying new tandem up front.
“My two little friends? quarterback Baker Mayfield said when asked about the prospect of facing the brooding Browns bookends. “I wouldn’t say it would be a lot of fun to face them.”
Fun seemed to be the theme of Clowney, who stood out at the three-day Cleveland minicamp, which ended Thursday with a dynamic practice on the grounds behind the team’s training complex.
There were eyes and camera lenses trained on Clowney, who signed a one-year, $ 8 million free agent contract in April with the Browns, his third team in three years after stoppages at Seattle and Tennessee after a five-year stay in Houston.
This week was the first time Clowney worked alongside Garrett, a 6-foot-5, 275-pound specimen he considers an athletic equal.
“It’s funny,” Clowney said after his first practice with Garrett. “I haven’t met a lot of guys like that in the National Football League yet. It took me eight years to get here to find another like that, in defense anyway.
Clowney appears to be fully recovered after injuring his left knee – he only played eight games for the Titans in 2020 – and undergone surgery in December. He skipped the team’s voluntary workouts to train alone.
“I proved to myself that I felt great after my knee injury,” he said. “I trained extremely hard in the offseason so I kind of had a sense of where I was going to come here. I wouldn’t have come if I wasn’t in good health.
“I felt good coming in. I feel good now. I hope I can continue in this next phase and stay strong and faster and prepare for training camp.
With Garrett and Clowney as the star attractions over the past three days, there was a constant buzz around the Cleveland defensive line group, which was reshuffled with several new players including Takk McKinley (free agency), Andrew Billings (of return of COVID-19 opt-out) and rookie pick Tommy Togiai.
The one-on-one battles included heated discussions of garbage, and Clowney seemed to love every second of it.
“The thing about me, man, is I love to have fun no matter what team I’m on or where I’m going,” Clowney said. “I’m a horny guy. I know it’s a job, but I’m trying to say it’s football first. I still love to play football. It’s not really a job.
“We have the best job in the world. Why not put a smile on your face when you are out running and they pay you for it and I will play for free? “
The Browns believe Clowney is a perfect companion piece for Garrett, who had 12 sacks last season but just 2 1/2 after having COVID-19 and struggling to breathe in the past five games.
With Clowney and Garrett coming out of the rim, offenses will have to design blocking plans to slow them down in order to protect their quarterbacks. It’s also likely that Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods will field his two stars on the same side, forcing teams to make tough choices.
Clowney, who hasn’t logged a sack with the Titans and has just three in the past two seasons, isn’t shy about lining up on tackle, but he knows what he does best.
“I thrive on moving, but I thrive on moving forward,” he said. “You understand?”
NOTES: WR Odell Beckham Jr. only did conditioning work on Thursday and the team said it was part of their recovery plan as he returned from knee surgery in November. Beckham looked formidable earlier this week and looks ahead of schedule. … Woods has dismissed the idea that he is in the “hot seat” after Cleveland’s defense was overhauled by free agent signings and the draft. “It’s the NFL, I’ve been in the hot seat for 30 years. Because every year you get contracts but you keep your job depending on the performance of your player, your position or your unit. … It’s a demonstration game, it’s the NFL and I have to produce. … New Browns LB Anthony Walker Jr. changed his jersey number from 54 to 4.