BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The difference between last year and this year's offseason for Jadeveon Clowney is that he's not recovering from a major surgery this year.
That should help his progress into next season -- and if it does, he'll get closer to reaching the potential his head coach sees in him.
"Clowney's got a great future," Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien said Tuesday morning. "The big thing, and I've said this all along, is he has to stay healthy. We have to help him with that, and then he has to do his part. Since he arrived in the league he's had several injuries, some of them out of his control. When he's healthy, he's able to get out there and practice and play, he's really played well for us. If you really study the tape, when he's played for us he's had a big impact on games. To be healthy, to be able to play a 16-game season, that's a big thing for JD. JD's a heck of a football player."
Since his arrival in Houston, Clowney has had a series of injuries that have slowed his play. He had surgery to repair a groin injury in June before his rookie season. He suffered a concussion in the preseason that year and then suffered a significant knee injury in the first game of his rookie season. Clowney had two surgeries to repair the knee injury, which was a lateral meniscus tear.
Last season Clowney dealt with a back injury and a Lisfranc sprain in his right foot that kept him out of the Texans' playoff game.
Right now Clowney is in Wisconsin for the J.J. Watt bonding-in-the-cabin trip. Throughout the offseason, O'Brien has seen Clowney around the team's facility. The Texans can have limited contact from now until the offseason program begins April 18.
"He's in shape, he's working," O'Brien said. "So we're excited to get him going in OTAs. JD's a good teammate, he's a good guy. He wants to be a heck of a player."