The three-time Pro Bowler and former No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney hasn’t been too lucky in his NFL career. Plagued by continuous injuries and trades, the 28-year-old defensive end now plays for the Browns, a team that was interested in Clowney for years.
Since his 2014 NFL debut, Clowney has dealt with at least one injury every season. He is now in his eighth year in the league, but he has only played one full season.
Below lists Clowney’s injury history along with the timeline of his now three trades over the last three years.
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Jadeveon Clowney career timeline
After a three year college career at South Carolina, Clowney entered the 2014 NFL Draft. He was the first overall pick by the Texans. There was a lot of hype around Clowney at the time because he was known as one of the best defensive end prospects in a while.
Clowney suffered multiple injuries his rookie season. After he was drafted, he had surgery for a sports hernia in June 2014. Then, he got a concussion during a training camp session, which led him to miss the final two preseason games.
However, in his NFL debut, he left the game in the second quarter with a knee injury. It was later found out to be a lateral meniscus tear. This limited his participation during his first year as he only played in four games and had seven total tackles and zero sacks.
Clowney had microfracture knee surgery, which was the second operation he had that season. His recovery timeline was nine months, meaning he’d be ready just in time for the start of the 2015 season.
ICYMI – Jadeveon Clowney talks about making the Pro Bowl & coming back from microfracture surgery at the end of his rookie year of 2014. pic.twitter.com/TIuifVtyD7
— Reggie Anderson (@ReggieWLTX) December 22, 2016
Although Clowney recovered from his knee injury in order to play for the beginning of the 2015 season, he continued to miss games due to new injuries. In a Week 5 game against the Colts, he suffered an ankle injury. He finished the game, but he missed the following week’s game. Then, Week 7, he missed part of the game due to a back injury.
In total that season, Clowney missed three games. He finished with 40 total tackles and 4.5 sacks.
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Clowney missed the end of the 2015 season, and it was found out in May 2016 that this was because of a Lisfranc injury, which is an injury involving the foot joint.
Clowney suffered an elbow sprain at the end of the season, causing him to miss the final two games. He ended his season with 52 total tackles and six sacks Following the season, he had an arthroscopic surgery in his knee, his first surgery since late 2014.
Clowney played through his first full season in 2017. In the 16 games, he had 59 total tackles and 9.5 sacks. However, following the season he had another arthroscopic knee surgery similar to the one he had the year before.
Clowney missed his first game since 2016 due to a back injury and lingering elbow pain. This was the only game he missed during the 2018 season, though. This ended up being his last season with the Texans. He finished with 47 tackles and nine sacks.
The Seahawks traded a third-round pick, pass rusher Barkevious Mingo and DE/OLB Jacob Martin in order to receive Clowney from the Texans.
Various other teams showed interest in Clowney after the Texans did not re-sign him in July after his rookie contract was up. However, the Seahawks were the ones to finally seal the deal.
Clowney missed three games in his season with the Seahawks due to a hip injury. He finished his year with Seattle with only 31 tackles and three sacks. He hadn’t posted stats that low since 2015.
Clowney underwent another surgery, this time to help out a core muscle injury he dealt with during the 2019 season.
Jadeveon Clowney said he expects to have surgery in the next couple of days to fix his core injury.
Then he hopes to sign with a contender. The chance to win a ring will be pivotal in his decision as a free agent.
— Joe Fann (@Joe_Fann) January 13, 2020
After his one-year deal with the Seahawks, Clowney signed another one-year deal with the Titans. The Browns, Ravens and Saints were all in talks to sign Clowney.
The Seahawks also offered Clowney a deal, but he reportedly turned it down.
Clowney’s season was cut short once again when he suffered a left meniscus injury. In December, he ended up undergoing surgery for the injury, which led him to be out for the remainder of the season. His career with the Titans only lasted eight games with 19 tackles and zero sacks.
Clowney signed his third one-year deal in a row, this time with the Browns.
Through six weeks, Clowney has already had to miss one game with the Browns due to his elbow injury. He has also dealt with more knee pain, and he could miss the Week 7 ‘Thursday Night Football’ game due to his ankle. The injuries Clowney has dealt with throughout his NFL career continue to cause pain for the now Browns player.
Why the Browns signed Jadeveon Clowney
The Browns appeared interested in Clowney for a few years, and they finally secured him in 2021. Clowney signed a one-year deal that’s worth up to $10 million. For Clowney, this persistence meant a lot to him.
“It meant a lot, man,” Clowney said, via NFL.com. “It means you’re wanted by somebody. You can tell that [if] somebody really wants you, they’re gonna use you the right way, so that was another big part of me making my decision. They wanted me and when you’re wanted by somebody, you can’t just turn it down like a relationship.”
The Browns ended their 2020 season with a loss to the Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round. Their focus heading into the 2021 season was to form a better defense. The Browns also signed five other key defensive players in April 2021. General manager Andrew Berry emphasized this need when the team announced they signed Clowney.
“We love his relentless style of play,” Berry said, via the Browns press release. “He’s one of the more disruptive players in the game and we think he’s going to add an element of ruggedness along our defensive line and will pair nicely with many of the guys we have on the roster already. The other thing we love about Jadeveon is his versatility, his ability to play all across the front and impact the game regardless of his alignment.”
Head coach Kevin Stefanski echoed Berry’s reasons on why the team signed Clowney.
“He’s a disruptive force that will help us against the run and the pass,” Stefanski said, via a statement. “We’ve been able to make some nice additions to our defense throughout free agency and we are looking forward to getting to work, so we can improve our team.”
#Browns Kevin Stefanski said Jadeveon Clowney has been “disruptive” so far and is fitting in to what the team is doing defensively.
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) August 4, 2021