Jadeveon Clowney is in real pain, and he's really making his own decisions.
The South Carolina star defensive end cleared the air about the controversial rib cage injury that compelled him to sit out last week against Kentucky just before kickoff. Because Clowney had not indicated previously that his injury might be that painful, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier responded in unkind. He then tried to square things with his star player Tuesday.
And hours later, Clowney met with the media, completely unbothered by the negative perception that came with the decision to sit."I haven't played my last game here," Clowney said, according to gogamecocks.com. "I will be back on the field. I just don't know how long it's going to take me to get back, but I will be back.
"Regardless of what people think, I didn't sit out (this season). I could have sat out. I am not looking to sit out. I am not that type of guy. I am here for the team regardless, and I am here to work with the team. When I get back healthy they know I am going to come there to play and do my job, do what I have to do to take care of business on the field."
Clowney did not practice Tuesday but is undergoing treatment for the injury twice a day. Asked directly about his commitment to Gamecocks football, he responded, "Always." He's questionable to play Saturday at Arkansas. Whether he plays against the Razorbacks or requires another week and returns at Tennessee on Oct. 19, you can count on a spirited performance and as much intensity as Clowney can deliver from down to down.
He's a smart kid.
Clowney had a smooth handle on his recruitment, which was intensely contested by top schools. He had a smooth handle on a brief controversy over the summer about how many Clowney-autographed pieces of memorabilia were available for sale online, as with Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel. And he'll maintain a smooth handle on RibGate.
And that could mean trouble for the Razorbacks.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.