The Houston Texans have cleared top overall NFL draft pick Jadeveon Clowney to play in their preseason game tonight against the Arizona Cardinals. The linebacker’s ability to play in the Texans’ preseason debut was unsure as recently as one week ago. Having Jadeveon Clowney cleared makes the game much more intriguing for fans and coaches alike.
Texans fans got a scare just one week ago when Clowney was carried off the field. Although he was approved to return July 26 from sports hernia surgery in June, he was limited due to rehab. The reduced workload was understandable, but his recovery and ability to play tonight seemed in jeopardy when he left the team’s Aug. 2 practice early and on a cart.
Clowney took the next four days off, returning to practice just this past Thursday. When he starts tonight against the Cardinals he may show signs of rust, but just having Jadeveon Clowney cleared to start is a much more encouraging sign than fans could’ve expected just one week ago.
“It means a lot to be out there with my teammates, learning what to do,” Clowney told ESPN. “To get that first initial contact with an opposite team. Learning what other guys do in the league. It’s going to be great for me.”
In all fairness, it’s going to be great for the Texans coaching staff too. They clearly know what Clowney’s capable of, having seen his impressive body of work in college, but they’ve not had a lot of time to see him work through the Texans’ own schemes. He’ll have a chance to do that tonight.
Because of his ongoing recovery from surgery, Clowney will surely be assigned a limited number of plays tonight. But his presence is all the more important as the Texans rely on their defense against the Cardinals. Houston has scratched wide receive Andre Johnson and running back Arian Foster for tonight’s preseason opener.
Clowney will get some playing time with Texans’ All-Pro defensive end JJ Watt, who’s also approved for select plays tonight. By drafting Clowney, Houston bolstered what was already one of the most imposing defenses in the NFL. Tonight’s game against the Cardinals will be the first time fans will have the chance to see whether the duo of Watt and Clowney live up to their steel curtain potential.
Tonight’s Texans vs Cardinals preseason game kicks off at 8:30 Eastern.