Jadeveon Clowney: 'Of course, I want to come back'

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Following Saturday's playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts, the Houston Texans head into the offseason with a bevy of questions.

One of the biggest is the future of former No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, who is currently scheduled to be a free agent when the new league year opens. For his part, the pass rusher would like to remain Houston paired with J.J. Watt.

"Of course, I want to come back," Clowney said, via the Houston Chronicle. "I promise to the Texans and whoever else is watching that I'm going to be a much better, improved player next season. I haven't been thinking about a contract. If I come back and play well like I know I'm going to, contract will take care of itself. I'm going to work on my craft and work on my game. That's what I'm worrying about."

There seems little doubt that the Texans should keep Clowney paired with Watt for at least another season. The question is whether sides can work out a long-term deal for the former first-round pick or whether the team will opt for the one-year franchise tag.

"We'll talk about that when it comes," Clowney said of the franchise tag. "If I'm here or somewhere else, wherever I'm at next year, I'm going to make sure I'm an improved player, a much better player than I am this year. I can promise you that."

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported over the weekend that Houston would like to hammer out an extension for Clowney before the deadline to franchise tag players (the window to tag players runs from Feb. 19-March 5). If sides can't work out a long-term solution, the tag would be in play, per Rapoport.

"Jadeveon is a big part of what we've done here," coach Bill O'Brien said. "When he feels good, health-wise, and he's ready to rock-and-roll, he's hard to handle. So, we're going to work hard to try to get something done, but we'll see how it goes."

The issue for Clowney has been his health. He's missed 18 of 80 regular season games in his five-year career. However, he's been mostly healthy the past two years, missing just one tilt. Do the Texans trust his health to remain enough to sink large guarantee into the dynamic but still growing pass-rusher?

With several other big offseason question marks -- including the futures of Tyrann Mathieu and Kareem Jackson on defense -- the AFC South champion could be a team in flux this offseason.

"That's very important because that makes me more confident knowing where you're going to be," Clowney said of his future. "That's very big for my family to know what's going. As a football player, I love Houston. Of course, I want to be here for the rest of my career."

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