Jadeveon Clowney Is Exactly Who We Thought He Was
The number one draft pick talks about playing tough, standing up for himself, and knowing the few limits he has.
For a number one NFL draft pick – a 6’5”, 266-pound man who can run a 4.53-second forty – Jadeveon Clowney is a relaxed guy. The defensive end, linebacker hybrid is expected to spend this season co-starring in a defensive highlight reel with Pro Bowlers J.J. Watt and Brian Cushing while attempting to drag the Houston Texans back towards relevance. But if Clowney is feeling any rookie jitters after inking a deal worth at least $36.7 million, he certainly wasn’t showing it when MAXIM caught up with him at a billboard shoot for Vita Coco coconut water.
The 21-year-old former South Carolina star talked about his transition to the NFL, trying to bond with the all-business Watt, treating himself to a new car, and not taking any shit from older players.
What’s life been like since the draft and now that things have calmed down a little? Have you treated yourself to any big things?
Yeah, I’ve treated myself, bought myself a car and a house. Just buying things, man. [Laughs] Nah, I’m just playing. I’m trying to learn how to save. I hear about guys going broke in the NFL, so I ain’t going to spend my money on a lot of jewelry or anything. I’m going to save my money instead of spending a lot.
What kind of car did you buy?
A Range Rover – so far.
Have you bought your mom anything?
Not yet. I’m about to buy a house for her this weekend. She just found one she liked so I’m about to go get it, hopefully tomorrow evening.
In terms of adjustments to life in the NFL, what’s your relationship been with the other players so far?
I don’t say too much. They just try to teach us the way, but some of them are like, “If I teach you what to do, you’ll come here and take my job.” So sometimes it’s like nobody wants to teach.
Have they messed with you at all?
Oh, no. I don’t play that hazing, none of that. We all grown in this room. When I first got there, Brian Cushing knocked my phone out of my hand. I got up and said, “You do that shit again, I’m gonna whoop your ass.” He looked at me like, “Boy, you got some toughness in you.” I said, “Cush, I don’t play. I don’t know where you’re from, but I know where I’m from.” He ain’t never messed with me no more. I’m just not going to let too many people mess with me right now.
All the talk about you sitting out games at South Carolina, does that still leave you with a chip on your shoulder going into the pros?
I feel like that’s behind me now. It’s in the past. I never sat out. Everybody talking about it, I went through everything, the combine, mini camp. I’m on to something new now. I’m on to this football team I’m on now and trying to win football games. That’s what I’m worrying about, trying to win games. I don’t worry about college anymore.
Coming up this season, you’re probably going to face RGIII, Romo, Eli, Luck, Roethlisberger, Flacco, maybe even Manziel. Out of those, are there any ones you’d really look forward to sacking?
All of them. Any team we face, I want to have a sack against them. Some guys I look up to that I watched growing up, played in the NFL before me, so it’d be great to sack pretty much all of them.
What’s your relationship been with J.J. Watt so far?
He don’t talk about girls and stuff. It’s like, “J.J., what about the weight room?” because that’s the only thing he talks about, weights and running. We lift together, but yeah, he’s a different guy. He’s gonna work hard, he gonna push you, and you want to get pushed by him. He’ll tell you all the right and wrong things, how to take care of your body, everything. You just have to ask. He’s a good guy.
There’s this really funny “Key and Peele” sketch about football player names, and they’ve said that you were part of the inspiration for it. What do you think about that?
You haven’t heard of it?
Never mind. It’d take too long to explain.
I want to hear it when we’re done. They talkin’ dirt about me?
They’re just coming up with really crazy player names. It’s all a joke about player intros.
What did they say about me?
They thanked you for having an awesome name.
Oh, OK. I appreciate it. Thanks.
What’s life been like back at home since the draft?
It’s like a movie: You’re the star. Every time you come home, everybody’s like ‘Ohhh!’ and telling you their problems and things. You just go, ‘All right, man. Hope the best for you.’ I guess they want me to be a problem solver. I can’t solve their problems.
Photos by Christian Petersen / Getty Images