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Matt Calkins: Seahawks fans should just enjoy the moment with Jadeveon Clowney, and not fret about the future

UPDATED: Wed., Sept. 4, 2019

Oakland Raiders quarterback Connor Cook  is hit by former Houston Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney  during the second half of an AFC wild-card game Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, in Houston. (Eric Gay / AP)
Oakland Raiders quarterback Connor Cook is hit by former Houston Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney during the second half of an AFC wild-card game Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, in Houston. (Eric Gay / AP)
By Matt Calkins Seattle Times

RENTON, Wash. – They don’t appear to be available yet, but I imagine at some point soon, the Seahawks are going to start selling Jadeveon Clowney jerseys.

The question is whether such a purchase would be a wise long-term investment for fans of the team. After all, nobody knows whether the Pro Bowl defensive lineman will be in Seattle past this season, as he is free to go wherever once the year wraps up.

Yes, it’s possible the Seahawks’ new A-list acquisition ends up as a four- to five-month rental. There’s a decent chance Clowney is gone just as folks around here are getting to know him.

But should fans be worried about that? Nah.

For now, they should just enjoy him while they have him.

Clowney spoke to the media Monday for the first time since being traded from the Texans two days earlier. He expressed his excitement about coming to the Pacific Northwest, noting the weather and teammate Duane Brown’s ringing endorsement of the team.

But within a couple of minutes, he was peppered with questions about his long-term plans in Seattle. His response? Let’s just worry about tomorrow.

“I’m just trying to take it one day at a time. I’m still trying to figure out where the cafeteria and the locker room are. It’s all confusing,” said the 26-year-old Clowney, the former No. 1 overall pick who’s made the Pro Bowl in each of his past three seasons. “Like I said, I just got here. Trying to get to know these guys. I’m not thinking far down the road. I worry about the next day, one day at a time.”

Given how little the Seahawks sacrificed to acquire Clowney, this is a perfectly acceptable response. Giving up a third-round pick, a backup defensive lineman (Jacob Martin) and a would-have-been-cut defensive lineman (Barkevious Mingo), this was like getting a Doberman in exchange for a Chia Pet – especially considering Houston is paying $7 million of his salary.

Do most 12s want Clowney to play out the prime of his career in Seattle? Probably. But with a standout season, he could still get free beer for life in this town.

That’s what Kawhi Leonard did in Toronto a couple of months back. The NBA star led the Raptors to a title in his sole season with the team before heading to the Clippers two weeks later.

No, Clowney isn’t in Leonard’s stratosphere and can’t influence the game in the same manner. But the point is, rentals can leave indelible legacies in the same way long-term residents can.

We know Clowney is pumped about playing in a 4-3 defense. With linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright behind him, the setup will allow him to be more “vertical,” as he put it, and focus more on attacking the quarterback as opposed to dropping into coverage.

Although he wasn’t asked about it, he likely sees an opportunity to get out of the shadow of J.J. Watt, the all-world defensive lineman who was the clear alpha dog of the Texans’ defense. Clowney isn’t just joining the defensive line in Seattle. He’s headlining it.

Seeing how Clowney fills the void of the departed Frank Clark, who had 13 sacks for the 10-6 Seahawks last year, there’s little reason to think this team can’t return to the postseason.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was asked Monday about Clowney’s future with the organization. At first, he offered a similar response to that of his newest defensive star.

“I’m just trying to get to Wednesday right now, so I can’t help you on that,” Carroll said.

Then he offered a little more.

Was him being here long term a factor in you guys trading for him?

“Yeah, yeah. There’s a chance that this guy is everything we’ve been looking for the long term. We’ll see what happens,” Carroll said. “He wants to show us that we’ve got to have him here. That’s thrilling, and we’ll see what goes down in the long haul, but right now it’s too early to even talk about that.”

Officially, Clowney coming to Seattle is classified as a trade. But anyone paying attention knows it was more of a donation.

Acquiring him was great for the Seahawks. Keeping him would just be gravy.

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