The Houston Texans still have high hopes for last year’s No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney.
Clowney missed most of his rookie campaign in 2014 after undergoing microfracture knee surgery—a procedure that is often extremely difficult to overcome.
Texans general manager Rick Smith is encouraged by what he’s seen during Clowney’s arduous recovery process, and he expects to see plenty of production from his top pick of a year ago:
“I've been encouraged and impressed. He's doing well. We expect him to be a major contributor this year.” – Smith said via the Texans' Twitter account.
Texans fans, his teammates and everyone else involved within the organization surely hope this statement will morph into reality.
But it’s no sure thing.
For Clowney to return to his pre-injury status as a veritable freak of nature and sack-master extraordinaire, the young man had to endure countless hours of brutal rehabilitation. After an interview with former NFL athletic trainer and current Sports Medicine Consultant for NBC’s Sunday Night Football Mike Ryan, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk touted work ethic as a critical element to whether or not Clowney would be able to make a successful comeback.
That Smith would publicly state his optimistic view on the situation speaks volumes about the work Clowney has obviously put in to rehab his knee. Remember, heading into the 2014 NFL draft, work ethic was a big question mark surrounding this talented young man.
It appears the “lazy” label can no longer be applied, which bodes well for his future in the ultra-competitive NFL.
That said, it remains to be seen if all his hard work will ultimately pay off on the gridiron.
“He’s screwed,” Cherilus said of Clowney. “His game is all about explosion. That’s a problem. I’m out there dancing. I’m an offensive lineman. That’s a different ballgame. He’s screwed. I’m just being honest.”
Cherilus wasn’t just talking out of his behind. Having gone through a similar microfracture surgery in 2010, the guy knows what he speaks of.
One man’s experience can never dictate what will happen to another, however. Clowney may well come back as explosive as ever. He may end up sacking his way into the Hall of Fame, for all we know.
One thing’s for sure: Houston desperately needs him to return in 2015 with a clean bill of health to help J.J. Watt and the Texans D overcome the significant hurdle that is Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.