Jadeveon Clowney says he was simply frustrated about his foot injury and not angry with the Houston Texans when he was seen visibly upset after being declared inactive for the team’s playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The outside linebacker, who has a mid-foot sprain on his left foot, did not speak to reporters Saturday after reports surfaced that he stormed out of the stadium upon learning he was not playing.
The top overall pick out of South Carolina in the 2014 draft said Sunday that he did not leave the stadium.
“I was frustrated I didn’t get to play,” he said. “I think anybody would have been and I watched the game here. Stayed here and watched the game.”
Clowney doesn’t like that people said he walked out on his team.
“I don’t think I walked out on nobody,” he said.
But added that he cannot worry about what people say about him and can only focus on his play.
“People say what they want,” he said. “I was right here ... watching the game.”
He is confident in his abilities and eager to show the type of player he can be when completely healthy.
“I know what I can do,” he said. “It’s funny just hearing other people talk, but I just think I’m going to come back and dominate the league next year.”
Houston lost 30-0 to the Chiefs in the wild-card round of the playoffs. Defensive end J.J. Watt suffered what coach Bill O’Brien called a “significant” groin injury in the game and will have surgery on Tuesday.
Watt didn’t have a lot of details about his injury.
“I’ll know exactly what it is when we get it looked at further, but yeah, I know for a fact we’ve got to fix something, that’s for sure,” Watt said. “It’s something we’ve been dealing with for probably six or seven weeks now, and our training staff has done a great job of just getting me out there on the field so I could play. (Saturday) was kind of the breaking point.”
Both Clowney and O’Brien said the outside linebacker knew before Saturday that he would not be able to play against the Chiefs.
“Tough injury, knew later in the week that he wasn’t going to be able to run, plant off of it — was frustrated by that,” O’Brien said.
Clowney appeared in 13 games this season after playing just four as a rookie because of various injuries, then had season-ending microfracture surgery in December. He missed the last regular-season game because of the foot injury he suffered in the fourth quarter of Houston’s win over the Titans on Dec. 27.
“I was just happy to get back on the field,” Clowney said of the season. “People (were) telling me I probably wasn’t going to play this year with the injury I had. Just to get back out there was a plus for me.”
Clowney, who earned a reputation as a ferocious pass rusher in a standout career at South Carolina, did not have a sack as a rookie but finished with 4½ this season. He spent most of the offseason recovering from surgery to his right knee, but he returned during training camp and was ready for Houston’s opener. He is looking forward to not having to rehabilitate all offseason like he did last year.
“I’m just going to work on my craft a lot,” Clowney said. “Work on things I need to work on and I think next year is going to be a big, big season for me because I know I can dominate this league. I was very happy just to go through a whole season with no problems with my knee ... after hearing about the injury I think it was a very big plus for me and this offseason I just need to work.”
O’Brien believes Clowney will benefit from a solid offseason.
“The best thing that he can do is get the foot ready to go where he can move, which hopefully that will be soon, and go and have a great offseason,” O’Brien said. “Come back here in great shape, come back here strong, ready to go, knowledge of the system.”