Houston’s Clowney sheds bust label, ready to do more

Jason E. Miczek/Associated Press Houston Texans defensive end and former South Carolina star Jadeveon Clowney made the Pro Bowl last season after two injury-filled seasons.

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Jadeveon Clowney made his first Pro Bowl last season but still remembers those who criticized him after his first two injury-filled seasons with the Houston Texans.


He’s intent on doing even more this season to prove them wrong.

The top overall pick in the 2014 draft thinks about many of the things that were said when he missed 15 games combined in his first two years with the Texans, and those memories help motivate him.

“I keep it on my shoulder,” he said. “I know where I was a couple years ago, how people talked 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 got going on that day.”

And although he was annoyed by a lot of things that were said about him then, there was one dig thatweighed on him more than the others.

“Probably that I’m a bust,” he said Friday. “That one kind of gave me (motivation) like all right, let’s go to work. Let’s really, really go to work.”

And that’s exactly what he did, turning in the best season of his young career to help Houston’s defense not only stay afloat, but be the strength of the team despite losing J.J. Watt to a season-ending back surgery in September.

His success in 2016 has provided a boost for him this season as the Texans prepare for their opener on Sept. 10 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“It’s a confidence-builder,” he said. “It really makes me work harder to try to reach another level of mygame … so this year, I’m really trying to build on last year and be a better player and help the team out more than I did the season before.”

As impressive as his work was last season, Clowney is far from satisfied. He believes that he’s only scratched the surface of how good he can be.