Who says you can't go home?: Why Jadeveon Clowney to the Panthers would make sense

  • Jadeveon Clowney is not a kid anymore, but he is coming off a great season with Baltimore.
  • The South Carolina legend is contemplating playing for his hometown Carolina Panthers.
  • Let's discuss why that may not be the worst idea in the world for the former No. 1 pick.

Jadeveon Clowney, Baltimore Ravens
Jadeveon Clowney, Baltimore Ravens / Robin Alam/ISI Photos/GettyImages

After completing arguably his best season since leaving the Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney is entertaining the possibility of playing for his hometown Carolina Panthers in NFL free agency. The South Carolina Gamecocks legend grew up in suburban Charlotte in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Clowney just turned 31, so he is clearly on the back nine.

However, he did just have a 9.5-sack season for the No. 1 seed in the AFC last year. He effectively replaced future Pro Football Hall of Famer Calais Campbell in the trenches for Baltimore. While Campbell had great success with the Atlanta Falcons last year, only Clowney sniffed the postseason. Although Baltimore would surely love to have him, there is always the allure of playing closer to home.

Carolina may be one of the worst teams in the NFL, but it can't be much worse than it was last year. I love the hiring of Dave Canales as head coach. The promotion of former Panthers star Dan Morgan to general manager certainly feels like a positive next step for the franchise. But after tagging Brian Burns and then trading him to the New York Giants, the Panthers need to get better along the line.

Mike Garafolo of The NFL Network reported a homecoming of sorts could be in order for Clowney.

In the words of the Head Ball Coach Steve Spurrier, "ain't neither one of us" would be mad at Jadeveon for playing for his "hometown" Panthers. It would be very Julius Peppers of him to do this.

NFL rumors: Jadeveon Clowney open to playing for Carolina Panthers

While there are no alma maters in the NFL so to speak, being able to play on a professional team either in the backyard of where you grew up, or where you went to college, is always appealing, especially in the latter stages of your career. At that point in time, you are playing for the love of the game, as well as a paycheck, so why not entertain potentially using your brand to your advantage?

Throughout his career, Clowney has been at his best as a star run-stuffer off the edge, as well as a decent complementary pass-rusher. The general public's inability to understand what he does well has led to him being either undervalued or panned on completely, given his lofty draft status. To have three Pro Bowls under his belt and a decade-long NFL career, you should chalk that up to a success.

While he should still try to return to Baltimore on a new deal, so that he can vie for a Super Bowl, I understand the notion behind linking up with the Panthers at this time. Clowney has been in a lot of locker rooms, plenty of whom that have won games. Helping take the Panthers from terrible to respectable could be a nice way for Clowney to close out his career in front of his friends and family.

I would still say the Ravens are the favorite to retain him, but there is a real push coming from Carolina.

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