Of South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney’s refusal to take part in Saturday’s win over Kentucky, Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier neatly buried the project NFL first round pick, claiming, “we didn’t know he wasn’t playing until right before the game,” and when asked about Clowney’s level of commitment, snapped, “you’ll have to ask him that.” The State’s Ron Morris — a noted thorn in Spurrier’s side — did just that, and upon being told, “I don’t know,” by Clowney, responded, with “every USC fan surely would have preferred to hear Clowney say he hoped to recover quickly from his injury and would work his hardest in practice this week to be ready to play on Saturday.” At least Morris took the time to recite the millions of reasons why Clowney might be reluctant to make such promises.
When Clowney said he might need surgery following the season to deal with his bone spurs, you have to believe there are a few agents who would prefer he have the surgery now and forgo the remainder of his final college season. With surgery out of the way, Clowney could better prepare for the NFL Combine, where he could cement his status as the best player in the draft.
Although it is easy for outsiders to say Clowney should play without fear of injury, he and his family know full well that a serious injury could cost them millions of dollars and future financial security.
Clowney was on the sideline a year ago when USC star running back Marcus Lattimore went down with a knee injury for the second consecutive season. Lattimore was considered a potential late first-round or early second-round NFL pick. Instead, he fell to the fourth round and received a $300,584 signing bonus.
Should an injury force Clowney down the draft board — let’s say to the middle of the first round — his financial windfall would be diminished considerably.