Jadeveon Clowney at NFL combine: 'I'm always going to be working hard'

Jadeveon Clowney says he is, in fact, a hard worker. (USATSI)
Jadeveon Clowney had just 3 sacks for South Carolina last season. (USATSI)

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INDIANAPOLIS -- You won't find many NFL Draft observers bemoaning former South Carolina pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney's lack of talent, and his measurements Saturday (6-foot-5 1/4, 266 pounds with an 83-inch wing span) were predictably impressive.

But if anything has dogged Clowney since the beginning of the 2013 season, it's been whether he was protecting his draft stock by not giving a full effort for his final year with the Gamecocks. He said Saturday he probably would have declared for the draft last year if it was allowed, but he also said he was simply trying to help his team win.

That mantra didn't change when he was asked by the media about the recent comments made by his coach Steve Spurrier that he wasn't the hardest of workers or the general thought that he was just trying to avoid injury during his junior season.

"I don't have much to say about [Spurrier's comment]; it's an opinion," Clowney said. "I believe I did work hard. Pull out any practice tape from last year, and you'll see that. I'm always going to be working hard, no matter where I end up."

Earlier this week, Spurrier said, "His work habits are pretty good, they're not quite like [Marcus] Lattimore, a Stephon Gilmore, Melvin Ingram, some of those guys, but when the ball is snapped he's got something no one else has."

We certainly saw that at times last season. But more important than Clowney's stats -- or making sure he would still go as one of the top picks in the 2014 draft -- was helping his team win. He's going to make sure the teams with whom he interviews at the combine understand that.

"Going into last season, I had high expectations for myself," Clowney said. "I had some ups and downs, but we went 11-2, won our bowl game. I was excited about the season. I wasn't worried about my stats really. I just wanted to win. ... It wasn't about protecting my draft stock."

In other news, Clowney says he wants to run a 4.4 40.

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