"I just want to win," Clowney said, via ESPN. "I'm trying to get to the Super Bowl by any means. That's what I'm looking for: Who's going to get me there? I ain't looking to get on no sorry team for no money. That ain't going to fly. I ain't gonna put my body through all of that just to lose no 16 games, go home with my check. I'd hate that, so that ain't what I'm doing. So if I can't win no Super Bowl, I ain't going to no team that can't win."
The former No. 1 overall pick of the Houston Texans spent his sixth NFL season in Seattle thanks to a trade from Houston, where he wasn't guaranteed to remain on a new contract. He recorded three sacks, four forced fumbles and one pick-six in 13 games with the Seahawks, helping Seattle reach the Divisional Round before falling to the Packers. The result was far from a fate he might have encountered had he allowed himself to be traded to Miami, a deal he nixed because he didn't want to go anywhere where winning might not be the top priority.
Now, he'll get to choose where he's headed.
Clowney's Seattle teammates want him to stick around, especially after he played through a core muscle injury for much of the latter portion of 2019.
"We have a lot of respect for him, the whole organization," linebacker Bobby Wagner said, again via ESPN. "Myself, I don't know what that injury feels like, but I know it's tough playing through an injury ... so we've got a lot of respect for him. We appreciate him coming out there and giving everything he's got. He's been a great player, great teammate, and he's definitely somebody that deserves everything that's coming his way."
Clowney's statistics don't necessarily call for a record-setting contract, but he shouldn't be measured solely on his sack total, especially considering his injury. The defensive end still registered a disruption rate over 10 percent (the total number of disruptions divided by the total number of pass rush snaps), recorded 22 stops (tackles that result in a successful play for the defense based on the yards to go by down) and 11 stuffs (tackles made on run plays resulting in no gain or loss). He did this while playing hurt and as part of a defense which boasted Lions castoff Ezekiel Ansah as its next best edge defender.
Simply, Clowney was attracting plenty of attention and still finding success, all while battling through a physical ailment.
"I even don't know if I showed anything," Clowney said. "I just want to show it to my team. I don't care about what anybody else sees. These guys in the locker room know what I was dealing with. They knew that I was going to get to Sunday and let it all hang out, and that's what they asked for.
"They tell me every week: 'Thank you for not quitting on us and not giving up.' I said, 'Y'all ain't never got to worry about that with me.' If I can go, I'm going to go. That's what it is. If I was able to go the rest of the season, fight for them, I was going to fight for them."
Clowney made a strong case for retention on a long-term deal. Seattle isn't necessarily a franchise that's inclined to ink such deals unless your name is Russell Wilson, but with $63 million in projected cap space in 2020 (seventh most in the NFL, per Over The Cap), general manager John Schneider will be armed with the financial ability to do so. We'll see if that means more of Clowney in the Pacific Northwest in the new decade.