Jadeveon Clowney sent home by Browns and won’t practice today, league source says; likely won’t face the Steelers Sunday

BEREA, Ohio — Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was sent home by the Browns Friday and won’t practice with the team after remarks he made to cleveland.com Thursday in a one-on-one interview.

He’s doubtful for Sunday’s season finale in Pittsburgh, and will probably be suspended for the game.

Kevin Stefanski will address the media after practice at about 12:30 pm Defensive line coach Chris Kiffin, who was previously scheduled to meet with the media at about 10:15 am, will talk after Stefanski.

Clowney told cleveland.com he’s been unhappy with the way he’s been used this season, specifically feeling he’s been removed from favorable matchups with offensive linemen, which prevented him from producing sacks and pressures.

“95% sure I won’t be back,” he said. “But there’s still that 5%. You never know what can happen.”

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Clowney, who missed four of 16 games this season because of an ankle injury and concussion, played on his second-straight one-year deal — this one worth $10 million — will be a free agent in March.

“I just feel like I need to be around somebody who believes in me and my ability,” Clowney, who will turn 30 on Feb. 14th said. “(It can’t) just be me believing in myself. I believe in myself more than anybody.”

Clowney, who has only 2.0 sacks this season compared to 9.0 last season, said Thursday he’s not slamming the door on being back next season because of a possible staff shakeup. But the events of the past two days will likely seal his fate.

Defensive coordinator Joe Woods has been on the hotseat this season, and may or may not be back. The defense played much better the second half of the season, but Woods will still come under scrutiny after the season for the second straight slow start by the unit.

At this point, it could go either way. But Clowney is now likely at the point of no return.

“There’s supposed to be a lot of changes around here next year, so they might not be back — and I might,” Clowney said.

The root cause of his unhappiness — which has lingered throughout the season — is that he feels the Browns have removed him from favorable matchups at various points throughout the season, and put Myles Garrett on a lesser offensive lineman instead of showcasing their star defensive end.

Garrett, who’s 15 sacks this season are 2.5 shy of Nick Bosa’s league-leading 17.5, is aiming for the sack title, and still has his sights on NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

“You’re all trying to get somebody into the Hall of Fame when all that matters is winning,” Clowney said. “Everybody got here for a reason, and we can all make plays. I know I am.”

Clowney made it abundantly clear that he has no beef with Garrett, who’s a good friend and a great complement when they’re on the field together. Last season, Garrett set the club record with 16.0 sacks while Clowney had his nine, tied for the second-most in his career. Garrett even called the two the “best pass-rush duo in the NFL.” Garrett, who regularly addressed the media on Friday and should be available after practice, also lobbied hard for the Browns to re-sign Clowney in the offseason.

“I don’t even think (Garrett) notices,” Clowney said of the position switches. “I’m not trying to say it’s him. I try to get along with everybody I play with. Me and him don’t have a problem. It’s not his fault. It’s just BS, and I don’t have time for it.”

He said the Browns have “got their own guys, and I ain’t one of them, so it’s time for me to get my exit slip.”

Clowney said things came to a head during the 13-3 victory over the Ravens when he discovered before the game they were flip-flopping him with Garrett.

“We practiced all week, and we get in the game and they want to move me,” he said. “I’m not doing that (sh—). I’m old. I did my job.”

He opted to play only on third downs that game because of the switch, winding up with only 22 snaps for 35%. Defensive tackle Taven Bryan started in his place, and Chase Winovich played 23 snaps for 37%. Clowney ended up with one assist that game.

“I don’t have time for that,” he said. “I’ve made my money. I’m doing this because I love the game, but keep (doing things like that) and making me not love the game.”

He said he understands the Browns wanting Garrett, their own No. 1 overall pick in 2017, to excel, but that there’s enough to go around for both.

“Let’s say it. Let’s be honest,” he said. “(It seems to me) they don’t want me to outplay nobody.”

He said he could “easily” have 10 sacks this season if things had been different and “I’ll be right back there next year. I feel better this year than I did last year at this point.”

The No. 1 overall pick of the Texans in 2014, Clowney said it can be here the way it was with JJ Watt in Houston, where Clowney had a career-high 9.5 sacks in 2017 and 9.0 in 2018.

“I played with JJ Watt, I was 20 years old at the time, 21, and it was alright for him to be deciding where I line up and (stuff),” he said. “He had already been two-time Defensive Player of the Year. It was cool. I made three Pro Bowls when I was there.”

Clowney said he started getting frustrated early in the season “and look at how my season started going after that. I started worrying about (stuff) I shouldn’t be worrying about. I’ve just got to get back to doing my own thing.”

Clowney said it’s unfortunate because he wants to play with Deshaun Watson, his former Texans teammate, “I do want to play with him. That’s my boy. but I’ve just got to go somewhere where someone believes in me.”

He said he plans to discuss the matter with Browns GM Andrew Berry in his exit meeting, and feels that Berry believes in him.

“I’ll be ready next year to get (after it again),” he said.

If things don’t work out with the Browns, they might still see him a couple of times a year.

“I could still end up in the division next year,” he said.

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