GREEN BAY, Wis. — Jadeveon Clowney knows what’s ahead for his immediate future. He needs surgery to repair a core muscle injury he suffered in the Seahawks’ Nov. 11 victory at San Francisco, and he says he will have that done “probably in the next couple days.”
Beyond that, as the star defensive end becomes a free agent for the first time in his NFL career, he says he isn’t sure what his future holds.
“Who knows?” Clowney said in a quiet locker room after the Seahawks’ 28-23 playoff defeat against the Green Bay Packers late Sunday. “I don’t know. No clue. I’ve never been in this situation.”
What does he want?
“I just want to win. I’m trying to get to a Super Bowl, by any means,” he said. “That’s what I’m looking for. Who gonna get me there? I ain’t looking to get on no sorry team for no money. That ain’t gonna fly. I ain’t gonna put my body through all that just to lose 16 games and go home with my check. I hate that. That ain’t what I’m doing.”
The No. 1 overall choice in the 2014 draft, Clowney arrived in Seattle in a stunning blockbuster deal Aug. 31. He has said throughout the season he has enjoyed his time with the Seahawks, and sounds open to the idea of staying in Seattle.
“It’s been a great experience,” he said. “I met a great group of guys. I just told them I appreciate everyone in this locker room, because I didn’t know how it was going to go when I got to Seattle. You know, people look at you different when you’re the No. 1 pick, they think you’re high. I’m like, ‘Naw, that ain’t me.’ I walked in laughing, giggling. They’ve been accepting me ever since.”
Clowney missed four games because of the core injury, but he was determined to play through the injury in the playoffs.
“I don’t know if I even showed anything. I just wanted to show to my team. I don’t care what anybody else sees,” said Clowney, who had a season-high seven tackles against Green Bay, with a half sack, a tackle for loss and two QB hits.
“These guys in the locker room know what I was dealing with. They knew I was going to get to Sunday and let it all hang out, and that’s what they ask for. They tell me every week: ‘Thank you for not quitting on us.’ I told ’em: ‘Y’all ain’t got nothing to worry about that with me. If I can go, I’m going to go.’ “
Clowney, a South Carolina native, turns 27 next month, on Valentine’s Day. He made about $16 million this season while playing on the franchise tag. As part of his negotiations during the trade talks with Seattle, the Seahawks agreed not to place the franchise tag on Clowney again this offseason.
Per NFL rules, teams are allowed to negotiate with players on the franchise tag at the end of the regular season. Clowney said he has not had any of those discussions with the Seahawks.
Free agents can begin negotiations with NFL teams March 16.
Clowney could command a $100 million contract — the kind of deal Seahawks brass was disinclined to give to another edge rusher, Frank Clark, before they traded Clark to Kansas City last spring.
Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner says he hopes the Seahawks will bring Clowney back.
“We have a lot of respect for him, the whole organization,” Wagner said. “Myself, I don’t know what that injury feels like, but I know it’s tough playing through an injury … so we’ve got a lot of respect for him. We appreciate him coming out there and giving everything he’s got. He’s been a great player, great teammate, and he’s definitely somebody that deserves everything that’s coming his way.”