Browns defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is excited for the familiarity that comes from returning to a team, and he believes Cleveland has a shot at a championship after it improved on both sides of the ball.
The Cleveland Browns have been busy fortifying their roster within the last week, re-signing defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to a one-year deal and ensuring tight end David Njoku‘s long-term future with the club by way of a four-year extension after initially placing the franchise tag on the playmaker in March.
As far as Clowney is concerned, his return is focused on one thing.
“I just want to chase that Super Bowl,” Clowney told Nathan Zegura Thursday on Best Podcast Available. “We had a great defense last year. We went out and got some more key players on offense and defense, and I feel like we've got a shot.”
The Browns did not make the playoffs last season, instead falling to 8-9 a year after reaching the divisional round, but Clowney has at least a couple sources of inspiration to draw from to support his Super Bowl aspirations.
The first of which revolves around team familiarity. After spending his first five years in the league with the Houston Texans, the eight-year veteran hasn't played a back-to-back season with the same organization since 2018. That's nearly half his career spent building a new rapport with teammates and comfortability with a different scheme before being able to narrow in on individual improvement.
“It's a much better feeling,” Clowney said regarding his return to Cleveland. “You're just always excited. I'm excited to be around them. I know what I'm dealing with and I know who I got. I know what we can do together. I'm just hoping we can take that step forward and get where we need to get this season.”
If excitement and experience within a defensive system manage to breed improvement, Clowney could potentially build on his inaugural season with the Browns (nine sacks, two forced fumbles) by amassing a double-digit sack total in 2022 for the first time in his career.
And while pairing back up with DE Myles Garrett — an All-Pro in both of the last two years — contributes to Clowney's optimism on the defensive side of the ball, it's a different reunion that has Clowney talking about the championship chase.
“You know that's my boy Deshaun (Watson). And I was happy about him coming here,” Clowney remarked about Watson, who joined the team via a blockbuster trade in March. “I told him if he come back, I was gonna follow him. So when he came back here, I told him, ‘Hey, you know you already got yourself another Cleveland Brown up there right now.'
“I already know what he can bring to the team. I played with him. Great player to have on your team and great leader. He can make them plays out there on the field and (I'm) just looking forward to seeing what he can do.”
Watson served as the Texans' signal-caller during Clowney's final two seasons in Houston, so the pass rusher is intimately familiar with the motivation of knowing how quickly Watson can turn a defensive stop into an offensive score.
“You look forward to a big play happening knowing he can make it happen,” Clowney said. “Knowing that, on defense you're just like, ‘Let's just go out there and do our job, rush that passer and just get to that quarterback.' Because we are going to get plenty of opportunities this year with him at quarterback.”
Bolstered by his return to Cleveland and his reunion with a three-time Pro Bowl QB, Clowney is now primed to pursue the Super Bowl from a position of comfort.
“I wouldn't want to do it with none other than the team I played with last year.”