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Jadeveon Clowney played through hernia injury in '13

Jadeveon Clowney underwent hernia surgery earlier this month, a surprising setback for the No. 1 overall draft pick. It turns out that Clowney struggled with the injury longer than anyone realized.

Clowney told NFL Media's Gil Brandt this week that he played through the hernia injury for his entire final season at South Carolina. Clowney believed at the time it was just a groin injury that he could fight through. Clowney's production fell off as a junior, and there were many questions about his effort level. The injury provides some context to his lack of production, although it's surprising we didn't hear much about it during the pre-draft process.

Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien has expressed confidence that Clowney will be ready for training camp. Clowney didn't sound quite as sure Thursday in comments to NFL Media's Alex Flanagan at the NFL Rookie Symposium.

"That's the goal," Clowney said of being ready for camp. "Right now, I'm doing good, going through the rehab, taking it day by day."

Clowney's ability to get on the field for camp is key because he's essentially learning a different position. The Texans will play Clowney at linebacker, and ask him to handle a few different responsibilities than just rushing the passer.

"I'm pretty much out in space. I got a lot of space to work with. It's different, but it's fun," Clowney told Flanagan. "You have to cover little slot receivers, tight ends and (running) backs flaring. It's just a lot going on ... motioning. You just have to be alert and listen. Listen and know your assignment."

The latest "Around The League Podcast" ranks the league's top tight ends and debates Andrew Luck vs. Cam Newton.

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