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How I disappointed Clowney and learned to move on

NEW YORK -- When I awoke Wednesday, I had no idea Jadeveon Clowney would soon seek my counsel.

It all went down a few hours later as I stood next to the genetically blessed South Carolina pass rusher, my voice recorder hoisted into his air space, the sun beating down on us at the NFL Play 60 Youth Football Festival at Chelsea Waterside Park.

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An entertainment reporter situated to my right asked Clowney about his biggest celebrity crush. (Aside: If you go to enough of these events, you learn this is an absolute go-to inquiry for this breed of journalist.)

Clowney was caught off guard, his mind Rolodex spinning out of control. Without warning, he turned to me.

"Who's single, who's single?" he asks.

Homina, homina, homina. At this moment, I could have rattled off any number of nubile female entertainers. Perhaps if I uttered the right name, I could have altered Jadeveon Clowney's life forever.

Kerry Washington flashed to mind -- or, to be exact, "The Scandal Lady" -- before I remembered she just had Nnamdi Asomugha's baby. "Nnamdi wouldn't be down with that suggestion," I decided. I had nothing else. The next Lawrence Taylor had come to me for advice and I delivered a personal "My Pet Goat" moment.

The "Insider" guy suggested Rihanna: Clowney happily agreed ... of course. I was crushed. How could I forget Rihanna?!? Rihanna exists to be the answer to these dumb questions.

I am the worst and shouldn't be sent anywhere.

Here are some other takeaways from the Play 60 event, always a highlight of draft week in New York:

» One of the best perks of covering the NFL Draft is also one of the most obvious. You get to actually see these guys; watch how they carry themselves and interact with handlers, reporters and other prospects. Johnny Manziel drew the biggest crowd (shocker), and he answered questions with Brady-like precision. This bodes well for the person who will become the NFL's most scrutinized entity in about 24 hours.

» Speaking of Clowney, he appeared to be among the more gregarious personalities among the 30 prospects on the scene Wednesday. He never turned down a photo request and answered every question that came his way. Of course, it would be foolish to cop an attitude the day before the draft, but Clowney appeared to have his head on straight as he talked about putting Andrew Luck's head on a swivel.

» It's kind of frightening how much Blake Bortles looks like a young Ben Roethlisberger. This is a Val Kilmer-playing-Jim Morrison-level resemblance. I asked him (Bortles, not Val Kilmer) if he modeled his game after the Steelers quarterback.

"I grew up a huge Packers fan, so Brett Favre was my hero," he said. "I don't know if my game looks like his at all, but that was the guy I was trying to be when I was running around the yard. Now Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck are two guys that I try to be like."

» Bortles was also asked what were the worst questions he's received during the pre-draft process.

"The girlfriend stuff," he offered. "It's weird."

» Overheard former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel engaged in some awkward chit-chat with Jordan Matthews and C.J. Mosely. The dynamic was not dissimilar to when you find yourself one-on-one in the break room with Tina From Accounting.

» NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell delivered a short message to kids at the event while wearing an impressive pair of Ray Ban aviators. How great would it be if he kept them on during Thursday night's telecast? I plan to suggest this if we cross paths at the league office. (This is a lie.)

» Teddy Bridgewater spoke to the kids for a few moments as well. A precocious young boy raised his hand and asked Bridgewater about his suspect hand size. (This is also a lie.)

» Eric Ebron said he has "Wrecking Ball" by Miley Cyrus on his iPod. This absolutely should be his intro song when his name is called.

» Actual quote from colleague Marc Sessler: "Clowney looks like an ethereal being."

The "Around The League Podcast" Draft Preview Spectacular is all you need before draft day.

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