Thursday, April 25

Jadeveon Clowney talks 2023 resurgence, has high hopes for Panthers in 2024 season

Jadeveon Clowney is about to enter his first season with the Carolina Panthers, coming off one year with the Baltimore Ravens and the 31-year-old is ready to continue to prove himself in 2024. This offseason, the edge rusher signed a two-year, $20 million contract, worth up to $24 million, with his hometown team, marking the sixth franchise he has played for in his NFL career. 

The Rock Hill, South Carolina native finished with 9.5 sacks last season, tying his career high. Clowney, who played in 17 games last year and finished with 43 total tackles and two forced fumbles, said last year was a crucial one.

“That was very important, really for myself because I already knew I could play the game and make plays,” Clowney said (via ESPN). “I tell people all the time if I play in 16, 17 games, it’s going to look like a Pro Bowl season. That’s all I got to do, is just be out there playing.”

He continued, saying, “I know I can make the plays no matter what team I’m on. I’ve just got to be available and take care of myself. The older I get the more I figure out how to stay healthier.”

Clowney changed his number from No. 90 to No. 24 ahead of his 2023 campaign, which ended up being his first year since 2017 that he played a full season. He said one reason for the change was to separate himself from his bad ending with the Browns. 

“That was my Kobe Bryant year, the return of the killer,” Clowney said. “I said Kobe [year] because when I was in Cleveland a lot of stuff happened my last year there when I didn’t have my best season.”

Upon leaving the Browns, he said he had people to prove wrong. 

“I said I just need one opportunity to show these people I still can do this at a high level and I’m not the guy they make me out to be,” Clowney said regarding last season. “That’s all I wanted to do that whole offseason, prove that to people.”

Whether it was the symbolic changing of the number, a new team or the extra motivation following a rough time in Cleveland, Clowney’s plan to return to his old way of playing worked. His solid season meant he was sought after in free agency, with the New York Jets also wanting him in their uniform in 2024. 

Clowney ended up choosing the Panthers, in part due to his history with the Carolinas. Playing for his hometown team he says is “allowing me to live out my dream.”  The potential of helping improve the team that finished 2-15, the worst record in the league, last season, was another reason he decided to make Bank of America Stadium is home field. 

“I think we can turn this thing around and have some fun here,” Clowney said. “I’m looking for something great for this upcoming season.”

The South Carolina alum believes his new team can beat out the reigning divisional champ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as well as the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons. 

“The division [NFC South] was tight last year regardless of what people say. It’s no reason to think the Panthers can’t come out on top of the division this year and make the playoffs,” Clowney said.

Clowney said he is hoping former Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore, who he played with in high school and college, will be joining him on the Panthers. The edge rusher said Gilmore has been wanting to join the Panthers. 

He will be changing his number once again, going back to No. 7, which he wore in high school in college, despite No. 24 being available. He said No. 24 has already done its job. 

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