South Carolina junior defensive end Jadeveon Clowney says the confusion over whether or not he was planning to start against the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday was just a "miscommunication" between him and the coaching staff.
In his first comments since he decided to sit out the Kentucky game, Clowney says he should have handled things differently when it came to alerting his coaches about the injury.
"They wouldn't respond to me when I was telling them exactly what was going on and they figured out the injury really was serious is what it was, so, you know, it's alright," said Clowney.
A potential 2014 NFL Draft top pick, Clowney largely brushed off the harsh media criticism thrown at him in recent days.
"That's people's opinions. I'm here with my team everyday, practicing with my team. People will say what they want to say. They're not here in the locker room or around the coaching staff with us, so I know what's going on around us," said Clowney.
That scrutiny was probably harshest from ESPN analyst Paul Finebaum, who said the Rock Hill native was "the biggest joke in college football."
Clowney says he doesn't care about the criticism in the end.
"People don't know me. Half the people in the world don't know me, and they're always assuming stuff, so there's always an assumption of what's going on in my life. As long as I know where I stand with the team and everybody else, I'm not here to play for them. I'm here to play for my team and this university, so I'm having fun with it," said Clowney.
Clowney also shot back against others who have questioned his commitment level to football.
"I enjoy playing," say Clowney. "I come out here every day since I've been here. You all should know that by now. I just take it one day at a time. I'm in college. I'm playing for this university right now. I'm going to do that and get ready for the future. I'm not looking past this week. We've got Arkansas coming up. I'm here to play for my team and my university.
He also sought assuage fan fears that he would sit out for the rest of the season to prepare for the Draft.
"I haven't played my last game yet," said Clowney. "I will be back on the field. I just don't know how long it will take to get back but I'm going to be back playing. I'm going to keep doing my thing, keep playing football and moving forward."
Clowney did confirm that he is questionable to play in Saturday's road game against the Arkansas Razorbacks and went further, saying he has no status on when exactly he'll be back.
Clowney has been suffering from a muscle sprain in his ribs for several days.
The junior defensive end says he initially suffered the injury in Orlando when the Gamecocks played the Central Florida Knights and he pulled the muscle during practice on Wednesday.
"It's bothering me," said Clowney. "I can't really run. When I start back running, I'll be back out there."
South Carolina plays Arkansas this Saturday in Fayetteville.
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