HOUSTON – The Houston Texans' quarterback competition took a back seat Monday because linebacker Jadeveon Clowney returned to practice about 8 1/2 months after having microfracture knee surgery. This is a huge step for the number one overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
"It means a lot to me, you know, to be out here, practicing with the guys. It's been a long time, so I was very excited to be out there today," Clowney said.
Clowney was seen smiling and laughing a lot because he's getting closer to playing in a game, something he hasn't done since last November. In the meantime, Houston will limit him in practice.
"Yeah, I was like 'Coach, let me get some pass rush today.' He was like 'No, it's your first day out here, we're going to take it slow,'" Clowney said. "I was like, 'Man, what am I going to do now this whole time?' Take it slow, you're going to have plenty of opportunity, so just wait.'"
The 22-year-old doesn't want to wait. He wants to go 100 percent right now!
"Man, I'm very anxious. It's going to be great to be out there, rushing the passer and just putting my hands on other guys," Clowney said. "I've been hitting these dummies for so long and nobody hits back. So we're going to see how it goes."
Head coach Bill O'Brien remains optimistic Clowney will be ready for the season opener on Sept. 13, when the Texans take on Kansas City at home.
In other news Monday: O'Brien moved practice from 2 p.m. to 8 a.m. saying he wanted to get their legs moving in the morning. The guys were ready and didn't seem to mind one bit.
It was a travel day for me and photog Adam Higgins. Of course we stopped at Buc-ee's on the way out. Love their beef jerky. Have yet to try Beaver Nuggets.
The second episode of HBO's "Hard Knocks" will air Tuesday night and get ready for linebacker Brian Cushing, the only player featured in the preview. Cush, as he's often called, is one of the most intense players on the team. He's mic'd up, fired up, and definitely says things not suitable for work. Looks like another great episode.