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Clowney ready for next step, open to Seahawks return

The date is May 6, 2020, and Jadeveon Clowney is still a free agent.

This is the new normal, at least for now, in a world filled with uncertainty. The unknown once stressed Clowney, but he's grown comfortable with not yet knowing where he'll be playing in 2020, because he's fine with waiting for the right fit. That fit could still be Seattle.

"I hope we can work something out if anything happens," Clowney said in an interview with FOX 26 Houston. "I did like it up there. I love Russ (Russell Wilson). I love all the guys I played with. J. Reed (Jarran Reed), B. Jack (Branden Jackson), all them boys in my (defensive) room. I respect them guys.

"I love Seattle ... I love everyone on the coaching staff."

Clowney has wanted this free agency, ensuring such freedom when he was traded from Houston to Seattle last season by requiring the deal to remove the Seahawks' ability to franchise tag him. It hasn't produced a lucrative contract with a new team, which can be partially blamed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its restrictions on in-person interaction. For a player with an injury history like Clowney's, the medical evaluation is a crucial part of getting a deal done -- especially an expensive one.

"I don't know what people think, if I'm hurting because of what I went through, because of the core (injury) or previous years or what, I don't know, but I just want to let people know I'm ready," Clowney said. "I'll be ready to go whenever the time comes, and whoever I sign with is going to get the best version of me."

That version of Clowney, at least statistically, is the 2017 edition of him. That year, Clowney tallied 59 tackles, 9.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. There's also an argument to be made for 2019 Clowney, who forced four fumbles, took an interception back for a touchdown and was a defensive catalyst for a Seahawks team that sorely needed an edge-rushing force.

The Seahawks could still use Clowney's contributions. Any of the 32 teams would welcome a healthy Clowney, especially at a favorable price. But with a lack of movement possible right now and the expectation of significant compensation still included, Clowney's been in a waiting period for a while.

He's spending his days training at a gym in Houston and waiting for something to happen. Clowney's not stressing, because eventually he knows he'll sign somewhere, even if it might not be what he'd once envisioned. His interview with the local TV outlet proved he's at least healthy, if nothing more.

"I was getting fed up with it. It was nerve-wracking," Clowney said of his trudge through the open market, per the Seattle Times. "I'm just waiting on the right opportunity and the right timing for me."

The wait continues.

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