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Clowney: ‘I’m here for the team’

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POSTED October 8, 2013 9:21 p.m.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Injured South Carolina All-American Jadeveon Clowney made it clear Tuesday that he plans to play a lot more college football before moving on to the NFL.

The 6-foot-6, 274-pound defensive end said Tuesday that he’s receiving treatment several times a day on the strained muscle near his rib cage so he might return in time to face Arkansas on Saturday.

“Am I fully committed? Always,” Clowney said. “I could’ve sat out. I’m not looking to sit out. I’m not that type of guy. I’m here for the team.”

He wasn’t there for them Saturday, raising questioning about his commitment to the 14th-ranked Gamecocks.

Clowney said before Saturday’s game against Kentucky that he couldn’t go, saying he was in too much pain to play. The Gamecocks beat Kentucky 35-28 without him.

A noticeably upset Spurrier said after the game if Clowney didn’t want to play he didn’t have to, and the program would move on. The coach mellowed his tone some Sunday, saying he was frustrated that proper injury protocol — Clowney telling trainers or medical staff and that information being forwarded to the coaches — was not followed.

“Obviously, we all handled it poorly. All of us did,” Spurrier said earlier Tuesday.

Clowney assured fans he hadn’t played his final game at South Carolina (4-1, 2-1 SEC).

“When I get back healthy, I’m going to play and do my job and take care of business on the field,” he said.

It’s still uncertain when that will happen. Clowney said he felt the pain in his chest early last week and trainers brushed it off as the typical bumps and bruises that come with football.

Clowney said things grew worse last Wednesday and he missed the following day’s practice to get ready for Kentucky. He knew on Saturday, though, he couldn’t make fast cuts or run without pain and opted to sit out.

If Clowney can’t play against the Razorbacks (3-3, 0-2), he said he’ll be on the sidelines cheering his teammates.

It has not been the season expected out of the SEC’s reigning defensive player of the year. Clowney has just two sacks and 12 tackles. He was one of the most talked about player in college football after finishing last season with his helmet-popping hit on Michigan’s Vincent Smith in the Outback Bowl.

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