“That was my Kobe Bryant year”: Jadeveon Clowney discusses impressive 2023 season that led to Panthers signing

Linebacker Jadeveon Clowney epitomizes a blend of athleticism and power on the field. He rose to prominence as a defensive star and captured national attention during his collegiate career at the University of South Carolina. His explosive plays at that time even earned him All-American honors.

The Houston Texans selected Clowney as the first overall pick in the NFL Draft in 2014. He has bounced from one team to another since then. The veteran recently revealed his ‘Kobe Bryant year’ after signing a two-year deal with the Carolina Panthers.

Jadeveon Clowney reveals his “Kobe Bryant year”

Jadeveon Clowney’s career trajectory took a significant turn during his “Kobe Bryant year” with the Baltimore Ravens. After a turbulent stint with the Cleveland Browns, Clowney found redemption in the 2023 season by tying his career-high sacks and playing a full season for the first time since 2017.

The veteran’s decision to switch his jersey number from 90 to 24 symbolized a fresh start and a break from past struggles. He dubbed it his “Kobe Bryant year,” a tribute to the late basketball legend and an ode to his resurgence on the field.

“That was my Kobe Bryant year, the return of the killer..I said Kobe [year] because when I was in Cleveland a lot of stuff happened my last year there when I didn’t have my best season,” he said.

Jadeveon Clowney
via Dawgs by Nature

The Rock Hill native’s journey perfectly highlights perseverance in the face of adversity. His unwavering commitment to excellence echoes Bryant’s Mamba Mentality, epitomizing the spirit of determination and resilience.

Jadeveon Clowney’s stellar performance in 2023 attracted attention from teams like the New York Jets. With 9.5 sacks, 43 total tackles, and two forced fumbles, he silenced critics and proved his talent.

Jadeveon Clowney’s Panthers contract details

Jadeveon Clowney’s agreement with the Panthers spans two years, with a lucrative sum of $20 million firmly secured. However, the contract’s maximum potential reaches an impressive $24 million, reflecting the performance-based incentives and bonuses woven into its fabric.

The allure of returning to his roots ultimately swayed the footballer’s decision. The New York Jets were vying for his signature to bolster their defense and complement the imminent return of Aaron Rodgers. However, Clowney’s deep-seated ties to the Carolinas proved decisive, as he expressed his joy in realizing a lifelong aspiration by representing his hometown team.

The Panthers are coming from a challenging season with a record of 2-15. However, they offer Clowney the opportunity to spearhead a transformative resurgence. His aspirations extend beyond personal success, as he eagerly anticipates the potential reunion with former teammate Stephon Gilmore.

Sharing a history that dates back to high school and college, Clowney envisions Gilmore’s addition as a potential weapon for defensive excellence within the Panthers’ ranks. Now, it remains to be seen if the Panthers fulfil his wish.


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Maliha is an insightful sports writer with over a year of experience focusing on the NFL. Initially venturing into both NFL and NBA coverage, her journey began without a particular affinity for American football. However, her passion for the sport blossomed as she started following football more. Now, a huge NFL fan, Maliha meticulously follows every development within the league. She always wants to ensure her analysis is comprehensive and up-to-date to fellow readers.


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