Clowney back with the Browns because of Watson

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BEREA, Ohio – Jadeveon Clowney admitted on Thursday that he ultimately decided he would sign the Cleveland Browns when he knew quarterback Deshaun Watson was also on his way to Cleveland.

“I thought I played well here last year and I feel like I can get better and pick from what I did last year,” the defender said as he listed the reasons why he returned to the Browns.

“Then my boy came here, Deshaun.”

Clowney is coming off a breakout season with the Browns after signing a one-year deal last year. When he played against All-Pro pass rusher Myles Garrett, Clowney finished with nine sacks; both Garrett and Clowney ranked in the top four in the NFL in pass rush victory rate.

“I’m gone [Garrett] did some good things together, ” Clowney said as the Browns finished their final minicamp workout at FirstEnergy Stadium. “We got out of it well. We played well together. We fed each other. We’re going to do the same thing this year, even better … We got a good thing from last year. We want to keep it.” goes this year. “

What toppled the weight for Clowney, however, was the opportunity to play again with Watson, his former teammate with the Houston Texans.

“I was completely preoccupied with where my boy Deshaun was going,” Clowney said. “I just wanted to go out and play with him and see what I can do with him again.”

The Browns switched to Watson in March, sending three first-round picks to the Texans.

A source told ESPN that Clowney spoke with Watson during the shopping week, while Watson was still considering joining the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers or Atlanta Falcons, and that Clowney in their conversation gave Cleveland and the Browns strong support.

“I told him if he goes [to Cleveland]then I will follow him over here, “said Clowney.” That was what it came down to. “

However, it is still unclear when Clowney will actually play with Watson. Watson faces 24 active civil lawsuits from women who have accused him of inappropriate sexual behavior during massage sessions.

Although two major juries in Texas declined to pursue criminal charges against Watson earlier this year, the NFL is investigating whether he violated its code of conduct, and the league interviewed the quarterback in person last month as part of the investigation. At the league’s spring meeting, Commissioner Roger Goodell said he believed the NFL was nearing the end of its investigation, but that he could not provide a timeline for when a decision might be made. Watson has maintained his innocence and reiterated on Tuesday that he never “harassed” or “disrespected” or “forced” any woman.

Clowney said he is not worried that a potential Watson suspension could derail Cleveland’s season.

“We have a good defense, we can keep it together,” he said. “We did well last year and we were beaten up in attack everywhere and our defense played well to what we were doing … We’ll probably make it.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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