Jadeveon Clowney returns to the Browns on a one-year deal, the third consecutive one-year contract he has signed. It keeps him in Cleveland for a second consecutive season, the first time he has spent consecutive seasons with the same team since Clowney played his first five seasons with the Texans.
As much as Myles Garrett and others recruited Clowney to re-sign with the Browns, he said Thursday it was the team’s trade for Deshaun Watson that drew him back.
“I played well here last year,’’ Clowney said, via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. “I felt like I could get better. Just pick up from what I did last year. Plus, my boy came here, Deshaun.”
Clowney spent two seasons with Watson in Houston.
“I was all about where my boy Deshaun was going,’’ Clowney said. “When I talked to [the Browns], I said, ‘I played with him. He kept us off the field a lot.’ I was like, ‘I know you’re going to keep us off the field. You put up a lot of points, put us in rushing situations instead of having to stop the run all the time.’ I just wanted to go play with him and see what I can do with him again.’’
Clowney said if Watson had gone to the Falcons, Clowney would have sought to end up there. Or New Orleans, if that was where Watson was traded.
He regularly kept in contact with the quarterback, tying his future to Watson’s.
“I talked to him a few times before he signed, after he signed,’’ Clowney said. “We stayed in touch through that whole thing about coming here. If he come, then I come. I told him if he goes, I’ll follow him up here. I’ll go back. That’s what it came down to.”
Clowney, though, signed another one-year deal. With Watson facing more than two dozen civil lawsuits for alleged sexual misconduct during massage sessions, there is a chance Watson won’t play this season. That would mean Clowney would have to sign with the Browns for a third time to play with Watson in 2023.
Clowney, 29, is part of Watson’s support system as the quarterback awaits word from the NFL.
“That’s a lot of pressure,’’ Clowney said. “I told him that’s a lot of pressure for what he’s dealing with, but for him to just handle the situation the way he’s doing, I think he’s doing a good job. He doesn’t say much. He comes in here and works every day, he doesn’t let it bother him mess up his job, to work. He’s dealing with it well. I hope he just keeps doing it, take care of what he’s doing. Hope the best for my quarterback.’’
Clowney, a three-time Pro Bowler, made nine sacks in 14 games last season. His career best is the 9.5 sacks he had in 2017. Clowney has 41 career sacks in eight seasons.