PHILADELPHIA — It’s safe to say the days of Eagles fans wanting to trade for Jadeveon Clowney are over.
During the Eagles’ loss Sunday night to the Seattle Seahawks in the final NFC Wild Card game, Clowney speared Birds quarterback Carson Wentz with his helmet, knocking him out of the game early in the first quarter.
During a post-game interview with ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Clowney said he wasn’t intentionally trying to hurt anyone, saying he plays the game with “a lot of enthusiasm and effort.” He made similar comments to reporters later in the locker room.
“I was just playing fast,” Clowney told reporters. “He turned like he was running the ball, and I just tried to get him down. It was a bang-bang play. I don’t intend to hurt nobody in this league. Let’s just put that out there. I’ve been down the injury road, and it ain’t fun. My intention wasn’t to hurt him. Just playing fast.”
“I didn’t think I hit him with my helmet,” the defensive end added. “Like I said, I don’t intend to hurt nobody. That’s a great player over there. For the team and for the organization I hope he’s OK.”
But later, in front of his stall inside the visitors’ locker room, Clowney let his true feelings on the matter be known.
“Worst fans in the world,” he said as he prepared for his post-game shower. “You know that, right?”
“They hated me coming out (of the tunnel), they hated me going in … I don’t know why,” Clowney added. “I’m just like, trying to be friends. I’m a friendly guy.”
Clowney was also asked after the game about his hit last season, playing for the Houston Texans, on then-Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. During a game against Philadelphia in Week 16, Clowney drew a roughing-the-passer penalty on the hit and was initially fined $40,110, which the NFL later withdrew.
“I didn’t even knock Nick Foles out of the game and I got death threats,” Clowney said. “I tried to tell them boys on my team. I said, ‘This team hates me. Their fans hate me for some reason’ They think I tried to kill Nick Foles.”
On Sunday, Clowney’s post-game celebration on the field at the Linc with Seahawk fans certainly didn’t help win over many supporters here in Philadelphia.
Of course, pundits were dividend on whether they thought Clowney’s hit was a dirty play or just a aggressive defender trying to make a stop. NBC analyst and former head coach Tony Dungy was among those to defend Clowney, calling it an “unfortunate play” with no dirty intent.
Among those most critical of Clowney’s hit were Eagles players like tight end Zach Ertz and offensive lineman Jason Peters, who said the hit was either dirty, late, or should have drawn a flag.
“Was it a cheap shot? Yeah, it was absolutely a cheap shot,” NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Ray Didinger said on 94.1 WIP Monday morning. “It’s clear he’s going after Wentz on that play. He’s not making a tackle, the tackle is already made. He’s piling on.”
NFL Network anchor Rich Eisen wrote that Clowney would have been “ejected for targeting” if he attempted the same hit while in college at South Carolina. Even FS1 host Skip Bayless, normally an Eagles troll, called Clowney’s hit a cheap shot on Wentz.