Send in the Clown(ey)s

If you listen to the reaction of some folks around town ever since the Browns signed star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to a one-year contract, then we might as well skip the regular season, along with two or three playoff games, and plant them firmly in the Super Bowl.

Now, I get the excitement and all, but wasn’t it just a couple of years ago we were getting all teary-eyed and emotional about the signing of Odell Beckham Jr.?

Remember, we were going to have the greatest offense in the history of the NFL. We were going to score 50 points a game, and that would only happen when our offense wasn’t in sync. Heck, on good days, we’d probably put up 60 or 70.

What in the name of Braylon Edwards happened?

Well, a bunch of things happened: A lousy defense. A lousy offense. A Freddie Kitchens, who turned out to be a much better offensive coordinator than head coach. A meddling owner. A quarterback who discovered there was more to being successful than simply showing up ala Johnny Manziel.

Therein lay the beauty of sports though, gang. Every year there’s renewed optimism, even in the leanest of years. Football, baseball, basketball, hopscotch. Everyone always thinks their team will be better than it was the previous year.

The inherent flaw with that thinking is that – unless you’re the NHL – only one team can win, so (and, please, jump right in and correct me if I’m wrong) that means roughly half of the sports fans will go home disappointed on any given “game” day. Even after downing a half-dozen of the watered-down, yet still $10, stadium beers, it’s still a sobering reality, no?

While we’re on the subject of “sobering” – a concept foreign to the vast majority of football fans – let’s take a look at the track record of Jadeveon Clowney, shall we?

He has a history of injuries. That is never good in the NFL (see Odell Beckham Jr.) and, while Clowney’s history is a bit dubious at best (he’s only played 16 games in a season once in seven years) it’s not etched in stone that he’ll be on the sidelines for a majority of the Cleveland games. We should add that his season last year with the Tennessee Titans wasn’t exactly stellar, so the Browns signed him for considerably less than Titans did. (Maybe Browns owner Jimmy Haslam talked things over with Paul Dolan on the fine art of penny-pinching).

The upside? A healthy Clowney will take some of the heat off Myles Garrett on the other side of the line. Anyone who has read me for a while knows I’m not Garrett’s biggest supporter, but I will be the first to agree that a healthy Clowney will likely make Garrett noticeably more effective.

The bottom line is that the Browns took a calculated risk in signing Clowney, but given the reality (and frequency) of injuries in the NFL, don’t most free agent signings come with that same risk?

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 13, Issue 8, Posted 10:39 AM, 04.20.2021