South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney isn’t eligible for the NFL draft being held at the end of April, even though he’d likely be considered as the first pick in the draft. So Clowney is going to have to return to school and play another season for the Gamecocks before he can get paid in the NFL.
Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer wondered in February if Clowney shouldn’t just sit out the 2013 college football season to make sure he stayed injury free.
It’s a little too late for that.
Clowney missed another spring practice Tuesday and defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward told the media that Clowney might not practice again all spring.
"His neck and back is still stiff,” said Ward. “Whether he goes another snap (this spring), I don’t care.”
It seems as if the idea to rest Clowney for the duration of spring practice is mostly a precautionary measure. As long as the injury stays away from approaching a serious nature, Clowney can stay away from the field. That’s what Ward meant with his statement, and it’s absolutely the right move.
But you’d better believe that the South Carolina coaching staff is going to wring every last once of work out of Clowney this season, surely his last in a Gamecocks uniform; as they can. They’re handling Clowney with kid gloves right now in spring, but during the regular season would they consider putting him on the field with this same injury?
Would Clowney consider playing through this pain or discomfort during the regular season?
He might, especially since he told ESPN he thinks he has a shot at winning the Heisman Trophy this season. With lofty goals sometimes athletes take risks they shouldn’t. Who could blame Clowney for eyeing the prize of a National Championship and a Heisman Trophy in his final year of college football instead of looking ahead at the NFL and ensuring he does nothing this season to jeopardize his health?