Where there's smoke, there's fire, right? Unfortunately for South Carolina Gamecocks fans, the pre-season discussion about their best defensive player sitting out the entire season may not have been as overreaching as originally thought.
After Jadeveon Clowney sat out last night's game against the Kentucky Wildcats, head coach Steve Spurrier says that Clowney may sit out again when the Gamecocks play Arkansas on Saturday.
Many sports pundits suggested that Clowney should sit out his junior year to stay healthy for the 2014 NFL Draft. Since Clowney has been predicted to be a Top 5 overall pick, this would be a huge payday for the Rock Hill, South Carolina native.
Sitting out games to protect one's draft status, however, is mostly unheard of, and Gamecocks fans were quick to say that such a thing would never happen with Clowney. From what Spurrier said after the game against Kentucky on Saturday, it's starting to look like those Carolina fans, this writer included, could be wrong.
The news that Clowney was going to sit out for the Kentucky game came at the last minute. Clowney has previously played sick in a couple of games and has also been playing with bone spurs in his feet, which he will have surgery for after the season is over.
"Jadeveon was not suited up," Spurrier said. "I asked him 'you not playing' and he said, 'nope I'm in pain.'" Clowney reportedly had rib pain before the game.
Spurrier was obviously frustrated with his star defensive player sitting out last night, and some of the comments the coach made after the game have a lot of fans wondering whether something more is going on. Then again, the frustration could largely come from Spurrier's Gamecocks dropping a big lead to the Kentucky Wildcats, which let the Wildcats keep the game closer than it should have been. The #13 Gamecocks won 35-28 in Columbia after getting a 21-0 lead.
"If he wants to play, we will welcome him to come play for the team if he wants. But if he doesn't want to play, he doesn't have to play. Simple as that," Spurrier said. When Spurrier was asked about how committed Clowney is to the Gamecocks, he said, "You'll have to ask him that."
Now Spurrier says that Clowney is "unsure" for the Arkansas game. "Hopefully, with treatment and so forth he will be well enough to play this coming week but we will see," Spurrier said. "We will see if he's going to be in pain and not play or not in pain and can play this week."
Perhaps Clowney had just had a run of bad luck health-wise, but a lot of college football fans are questioning how legitimate his injury/illness claims are.
I'm so sick of hearing about clowney. He has the worst heart and is a discrace to what football is about
— Anthony Cinello (@AnthonyCinello) October 7, 2013
@Mr_JackCiceri as a South Carolina Alum & life long fan I can say that you maybe even more disappointed after the pick w/all his "ailments"
— J. W. Alverson (@jwalverson10) October 7, 2013