There has been some speculation that South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has been packing it in this season in an effort to avoid serious injury and prepare for the 2014 NFL Draft, so some eyebrows were raised when he didn’t play on Saturday due to “bruised ribs” that many within the program had no idea existed.
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said after the game that it was Clowney’s decision not to play and that he informed the coach of his decision just before kickoff.
“I don’t want to get into all of that,” Spurrier said, via Go Gamecocks. “I will just say he told me he couldn’t play. That his ribs hurt, couldn’t run. Said ‘I can’t play.’ I said, ‘That’s fine, you don’t have to play.’ We’ll move on. He may not be able to play next week, I don’t know. We’re not going to worry about it, I can assure you that if he wants to play, we’ll welcome him to come play for the team if he wants to.
“If he doesn’t want to play, he doesn’t have to play, simple as that. We were thinking he was going to suit up and play. He did not practice Thursday. Couldn’t run. Said he couldn’t play. Any time a player says he’s hurt, can’t play, who are we to question? He doesn’t play.”
In the season-opener, Clowney was hit with an obvious cheap shot and since then he has not been the same.
Whether it be conditioning issues or something else, Clowney has not been the impact player that many have expected. Of course, he is still dominant at times throughout games and NFL scouts love what they see on the film, but Gamecoks fans can’t be happy with how this season is gone.
No matter what happens the rest of the season, Clowney will go high in the draft and deservedly so.
The only question is whether or not he will decide to sit out any more games as the season goes on or if he will opt for the foot surgery that he had previously planned to undergo following the season. Our eyes will be keeping a close tab on the story.