BEREA, Ohio – No. 1 overall draft pick Jadeveon Clowney said Friday that he’s busy trying to get healthy and learn the Houston Texans defensive playbook, not leaving time for much else.
Almost two months onto the job and a month or so away from the start of training camp, Clowney said at the NFL Rookie Symposium that he’s not worried about projections or the potential of a Texans pass rush that could feature both Clowney and J.J. Watt.
"It’s been what I expected — hard work, learning from a lot of older guys, learning how to be a pro," Clowney said. "I’m just trying to learn the playbook and learn what I need to do. I ain’t really worried about (what people think) right now. I just looking forward to getting healthy and getting back to where I need to be.
Asked if he’s healthy, Clowney replied, "next question."
Clowney had surgery for a sports hernia earlier this month that kept him out of minicamp with the Texans. An NFL.com report earlier this week said Clowney played with the injury last season at South Carolina.
Clowney entered the 2013 season as the consensus No. 1 overall draft pick and ended up being just that despite recording just three sacks in his third and final seasona at South Carolina.
"I always thought about playing in the NFL one day, but I never saw this coming," Clowney said. "It really changed my life, my family’s life and I’m just excited about it. It’s a blessing."
In Houston, Clowney said he’s found new Texans coach Bill O’Brien to be "the toughest coach I’ve ever had." Clowney said he’s learning "more about football than I ever knew" from veteran defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and that his position coach, longtime NFL outside linebacker Mike Vrabel, "is just the smartest guy I’ve ever been around when it comes to football."
Clowney was on his feet for part of the AFC rookies youth football clinic at the Cleveland Browns training facility Friday morning, though he sat while speaking with reporters.
"I’m just anxious," he said. "I’m learning the playbook, learning to use my hands a lot more, learning a lot from the older guys on the team."
Clowney has been a low-key No. 1 pick, in part by his nature and in part because the draft’s most popular player has become Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, who campaigned to be taken by his home-state Texans at No. 1 but didn’t go until No. 22.
Anything that Manziel does or has done, Clowney said, means nothing to him.
"Johnny’s none of my concern," Clowney said. "That’s Johnny. All I’m trying to worry about is me. I can’t worry about Johnny."