The Cleveland Browns may not have another game to play for a while, but their locker room hasn’t been without contentiousness in the closing weeks of the year. Days prior to the season finale, former Pro Bowl edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney spoke one-on-one with Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot and said some things he realizes in hindsight he can’t take back.
As Kabot wrote last week, he is reported to have said that he was 95 percent sure he would not be back with the Browns for a third season, saying that he felt like he needed to be somewhere that he was valued. He said that the team features Myles Garrett and gave him the easier matchups, even arguing that it became more about building up his resume than winning games.
That didn’t sit too well, needless to say, with Garrett and a number of coaches questioning his remarks. He was ultimately sent home and made inactive for the finale. He has since issued a statement saying that he has spoken to Garrett and has accused Cabot of taking his words out of context. Cleveland.com quickly rebutted that claim.
“Jadeveon Clowney’s comments last week in his one-on-one interview with Mary Kay were quoted verbatim and were an exact and accurate representation of what he said”, sports manager David Campbell said. “In fact, the key points of Clowney’s complaints were later corroborated by other Browns players and coaches. The context really could not have been any fuller”.
Cabot for her part made it clear that he asked for and got the player’s consent to publish what he had to say, adding that comments from, for example, the team’s defensive line coach, corroborated what he himself had claimed.
“The story accurately represented his feelings and I did not take him out of context in any way, shape or form”, she insists. There appears to be no immediate indication that she did, either. In no way did Clowney offer evidence pointing to that fact. He really hasn’t even denied saying what was published, merely claiming to have been taken out of context.
Clowney would obviously be strongly motivated to paint himself in the best light at the moment as he is set to hit free agency yet again, having played on one-year contracts for a number of seasons in a row, including the last two in Cleveland.
While he enjoyed a revitalizing 2021 season with nine sacks, this past year has been a much different story, with injuries being a bigger part of the year and his production way down. Now due to be 30 years old and with a lengthy injury history with sub-par tape being the latest he has to offer, his market is not likely to be robust.
Add on top of that a malcontent, a player past his prime who frankly never lived up to his billing who seems to believe that he should be treated on equal footing with the best pass rusher on whatever team he ends up on. It’s no wonder he’s trying to clean up the mess he made for himself, but it doesn’t seem likely to work, either.