Timing hasn’t exactly been on Jadeveon Clowney and JJ Watt’s sides when it came to playing alongside each other. However, now, both athletes are healthy, and Clowney said it’s going to be a game-changing season!
This season is going to be Jadeveon Clowney‘s season; he can feel it, we can feel it, and Texans fans everywhere can feel it, especially with JJ Watt, 28, healthy and ready to go. HL EXCLUSIVELY spoke with Clowney, 24, who was with his friends at Tostitos, in New York City, who he’s partnering with for a fun game-day ritual campaign [which you can learn more about below]. For the first time in a long time, things are going in the right direction for the lethal duo that is Clowney and Watt. Clowney explained that he is pumped to finally get out on the field in the regular season with Watt, since they haven’t gotten the time that they would’ve liked together. “Personally, I think working together as a team is going to be great,” he said about him and Watt uniting. “We haven’t played together a lot yet – I was hurt or he was hurt. So, this is really the year where we’ll get to be on the field together.”
With Watt out last season, having missed 13 games due to back issues, Clowney had a lot of weight to handle. But, he did just fine; the numbers speak for themselves. Last season, Clowney had a career-high six sacks and 52 tackles. His big-number season clearly came at a crucial time. And, now that Watt’s back, the Texans have a power duo on their hands. At the end of July, the Texans were only two days into training camp and Coach Bill O’Brien, 47, made it clear that Clowney became an issue for the offense. “I can’t wait until we’re out of shells. We can’t block him in shells,” O’Brien told ESPN at the time. “Maybe we can have a little bit better chance of blocking him in pads.” Hey, being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, forces you to step your game up. And, Clowney delivered.
However, there’s been situations that have tested Clowney throughout his career. Like he said, he hasn’t gotten the chance to put on a show with Watt as much due to injury on both sides. Clowney missed 12 games in 2014 and three more in 2015 due to injury. And, when he was fresh out of the draft and sidelined, although he remained solid, he still heard what critics had to say. He was called a waste of a draft pick and a bust. But, he’s not one to sit and sulk. Instead, Clowney — dubbed an”athletic freak,” rightfully so — kept his head on straight, blocked out the outside noise, yet he used it to his advantage to prove the doubters wrong. And, it ended in a star-worthy season in 2016. Now, he’s on his grind and ready to excel in the upcoming season. Check out more from our exclusive interview with Clowney below!
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How are you preparing for the next season?
I’m really focusing on working out and taking care of my body. My mission is getting my mind and body ready for the upcoming games—I think it’s going to be a great season.
Coming off a spectacular 2016 performance, how will you benefit the Texans this upcoming season?
I think the main thing I’m trying to do is be a leader by helping out and guiding the team the best I can on the defensive side.
You’ve been described as a “rare game-changer on defense.” What makes you so clutch in crucial game moments?
I’m really driven and I always come through in the clutch. I’ve been like that all my life. Each game, I’m just trying to make a play and be there for my team—it’s all about the team. As long as you keep playing hard, taking care of yourself and your body and trying your best, it pays off during the game.
What’s the most valuable piece of advice coach or teammates have given you that you carry on the field with you day in and day out?
My rookie year, coach once told me, ‘Don’t take a play for granted because you’re always one play away from it. You can’t redo it.’ Now, I don’t take any play for granted and I give it all I’ve got every time.
Defensive line coach, Anthony Weaver said you are ‘Hall of Fame material.’ What does that type of praise mean to you?
It means a lot to me. He [Anthony] knows me more than anyone because he has been there with me, helping me change and improve my game. I know he believes in my work ethic and knows that I’m a team player and will do all I can to make a lot of great plays for the team.
We caught up with Clowney when he was with Tostitos, the Official Chip and Dip of the NFL. And, what better player than the Texans defensive end to officially launch the brand’s “Lucky Bags”. Tostitos knows that fans and players value game-day rituals when it comes to their favorite NFL teams, so they created a line of team-inspired bags [aka, Lucky Bags] that celebrate the official traditions of nineteen partner NFL teams. The bags will actually include the team logo and a special Snapchat code, which will take you to an exclusive piece of Tostitos content based on each NFL team! And, Clowney was the perfect guy for the job, since he told us that he loves Snapchat!
This partnership was very close to Clowney because he actually kicks off every game with his own rituals to make sure he plays at his best. “I need to be in the right headspace, so I start off game day with the exact same ritual – For breakfast I have eggs and hash browns, and I put pictures of my family in my cleats to keep them close to me on the field,” he explained, adding, “It’s something I’ve been doing since college. Clowney continued: “I know fans put just as much thought and energy into their pre-game rituals as the players do, which is why I chose to get involved with the Tostitos Lucky Bags program. It’s giving football fans another way to root on and celebrate their team.”
So, how does this all work? — “What makes it even better is that fans can see the team rituals and not just read them,” he explained. “All they have to do is Snap the code on the back of their team’s Lucky Bag to see a video. Texans fans may see a familiar face when they snap their bags.” You’ve got to love Clowney!
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