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Old 02-13-2013, 06:58 PM  
ChiefsandO'sfan ChiefsandO'sfan is offline
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Jadeveon Clowney should lawyer up, challenge nonsensical 'three-years-out' rule

He is a 6-foot-6, 256-pound athletic wonder who tracks opposing ball carriers like a laser dot and punishes them like a vindictive medicine ball.

If Jadeveon Clowney were allowed to enter April's NFL draft, rather than prepare for his junior season at South Carolina, the dripping-with-talent defensive end would likely go in the top three, and possibly the top one. Jadeveon Clowney finished the 2012 season with 13 sacks. (USA Today Sports)

Yet Clowney, because of a nine-year-old decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, doesn't have the option to cash in immediately on his potential. And the risk he'll assume by playing another season for the Gamecocks has prompted some, including Charlotte Observer columnist Tom Sorensen, to suggest that Clowney sit out the 2013 season before going pro.

I have a better idea: Clowney, who turns 20 on Valentine's Day, should lawyer up and try to barge his way into the NFL this spring the same way he blasted into the Michigan backfield during last month's Outback Bowl.

If Clowney chooses to go this route, I'll wish him well: The NFL's existing, court-sanctioned rule requiring a player to be three full seasons removed from his high school graduation before becoming draft-eligible is ridiculous, on many levels.

[Also: Steve Spurrier laughs off notion that Jadeveon Clowney should sit '13 season ]

First, it's utter nonsense. According to this rule, a wunderkind who graduates high school at 14 can apply to play professional football before he's old enough to vote, but someone whose matriculation is delayed because of, say, a severe medical condition might have to wait until he's 22.

Secondly, it's a self-serving and greedy attempt to preserve what is essentially a free farm system for the NFL and a corrupt and hypocritical college-football machine that pays off coaches and administrators while exploiting the labor of its elite athletes.

Thirdly, and most important, it is age discrimination in its most blatant form. If Freddy Adu can be selected in the MLS SuperDraft at the age of 14, and Steffi Graf can play a professional tennis tournament when she's a few months past her 13th birthday, how is it fair that someone like Clowney has to wait until he can drink legally before plying his trade?

This is the point at which many of you start firing off emails, tweets and faxes (wait, national Signing Day is over?... never mind about that last part) reminding me that the NFL is a different animal. Yes, I am aware that pro football at its highest level is an inherently dangerous pursuit, and I know this argument for challenging draft restrictions may seem to be at cross-purposes with the many columns I have written regarding the increased need for health-and-safety protections. My first answer would be that very young men (and women) are allowed to enter similarly daunting sports like boxing, MMA, hockey and auto racing without age limits.

My second response? Did you see that hit Clowney put on Michigan running back Vincent Smith in the Outback Bowl?

It's fair to surmise that Clowney's opponents are the ones who'll need protection.

"The guy looks like a beast," one AFC general manager says of Clowney. "Shows rare close and can really bend the edge and then he hits like a truck and shows some real nasty."

[Also: Jadeveon Clowney looks to take out $5 million insurance policy for 2013 season]

Echoed an NFC GM: "Yes, he's rare. He's a mixture of Jevon Kearse and JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul). He'd go number 1 right now, no later than two. He's an absolute freak."

It seems pretty obvious that Clowney is ready for the big leagues. And if it turns out he isn't well, can't we let the market decide? And make no mistake: physical readiness is the only issue that's even worth debating. Plenty of older players with more college experience, from Ryan Leaf to JaMarcus Russell, have proven they're not mentally or emotionally mature enough to handle life in the NFL, but that didn't preclude them from entering the draft and getting paid. Jadeveon Clowney celebrates after a win over Michigan. (Getty)

Oddly enough, I would argue that the young players who'd be most in harm's way upon entering the NFL early running backs are the ones getting hurt most by the current system. If you are a young, strong runner like Alabama's T.J. Yeldon or Georgia's Todd Gurley, each of whom had standout seasons as true freshmen in 2012, why should you subject yourself to approximately 500 touches apiece over the next two years for free?

Consider that if either of those backs were to enter this year's draft another NFC GM told me Yeldon would likely be the first back off the board in that scenario he'd not only start getting paid for all that pounding, but he'd also enhance the chances of landing an elusive second (or even third) contract because of his relative youth.

I'm sure that in retrospect Clowney's former South Carolina teammate, Marcus Lattimore, wishes he could have turned pro after the 2010 season, in which he starred as a true freshman. A torn ACL in his left knee ended his sophomore campaign, and last October he suffered a gruesome injury to his right knee, tearing multiple ligaments and suffering a dislocation that put his future prospects in jeopardy. Lattimore plans to enter the draft but will go at a much lower spot and receive far less guaranteed money than he would have had he been eligible two years ago.

"For a running back, especially, the wear-and-tear is so great that it's tough to justify keeping them (in college for three years)," the second NFC general manager says. "Don't get me wrong: Fans like the current system, and a lot of these kids aren't emotionally ready for pro football and, as with the NBA, you'd have a lot of guys washing out. But it's a free country. At some point, it seems like somebody's going to challenge it and win."

[Also: Student allegedly beaten by Crimson Tide players still loves Alabama football ]

Not surprisingly, running backs have been at the forefront of previous threats to the existing system. When Chicago Bears owner George Halas signed Illinois star Red Grange to a contract in November of 1925, it helped legitimize the young NFL while enraging college football's powers that be.

The Galloping Ghost's decision to leave following his junior season led to the establishment of a rule requiring players to be four years past their high school graduation before entering the NFL. That was later amended to the current three-years-removed restriction, in 1990. Thirteen years later, another running back former Ohio State star Maurice Clarett sued to enter the draft and temporarily succeeded in striking down the rule.

After a phenomenal freshman season in which he led the Buckeyes to a national championship, Clarett was suspended for his entire sophomore year for taking improper benefits. Two years removed from his high school graduation, Clarett convinced a U.S. District Court judge to allow him to enter the 2004 draft, essentially rendering the existing restrictions obsolete. That decision held that eligibility rules are not immune from antitrust scrutiny under the non-statutory labor exemption.

Eight other players who'd previously been ineligible for the '04 draft, including standout USC wide receiver Mike Williams, promptly declared, only to be left out in the cold when the decision was suspended by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.

That same three-judge panel, which included future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, later overturned the decision, and when the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, it essentially gave legal cover for the NFL's age-discrimination policies. Jadeveon Clowney smiles after a win over Georgia. (Getty)

I'm no lawyer, but it seems to me there are some reasonable arguments that could be made if one were to issue another challenge to the 2nd Circuit's decision. The appellate court essentially ruled that labor law trumps antitrust law in cases where the two conflict, and that both the NFL and the NFL Players Association should forgo individual antitrust protection for the sake of advancing the collective bargaining process.

However, the three-years-removed rule was not the product of collective bargaining, and draft-ineligible players (like Clarett then, or Clowney now) aren't yet members of the union. It's possible another appellate panel would ultimately view things differently, or even that the U.S. Supreme Court would take the case this time.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith was unavailable for comment Wednesday, but another high-ranking union source said the organization would welcome a legal challenge by Clowney (and/or other players) to the Clarett Decision.

[Also: NCAA Rules Committee proposes ejections for targeting players ]

I have no idea if Clowney would be interested in such a crusade, but I can see why he would be: I ran his situation by six NFL general managers on Tuesday, and the consensus was that he would "fly off the board" if eligible for the 2013 draft, with three of the GMs saying he'd likely go No. 1 overall.

As per the rookie wage scale, last year's No. 1 overall pick, Andrew Luck, received a four-year, $22.1-million contract that was fully guaranteed. That, at a minimum, seems to be what Clowney would risk by playing for the Gamecocks in 2013.

Apply this model to other careers, and imagine being a 20-year-old in that position. In that context, it's easy to see why some people believe Clowney should consider sitting out his junior season. There was even an argument Wednesday on profootballtalk.com that Clowney should intentionally fail his classes to avoid the possibility of a serious injury that could impact his future earning potential. (If that's the path he chooses, I know plenty of folks from my college days who could give him some excellent pointers.)

At the very least, the young man should protect himself: Clowney is seeking an insurance policy of up to $5 million to guard against the possibility of a catastrophic injury that could prematurely end his career in 2013. It's unclear how he'd pay the premiums, however, and there are other potential flaws with such an arrangement, such as the likelihood that a career-altering (but not career-ending) injury likely wouldn't trigger a payout.

My advice to Clowney: Find yourself a good lawyer who'd be willing to take on your case pro bono and I suspect there are a whole lot of them who'd be interested, for the principle and/or the publicity and see if you can blow up that nine-year-old appellate court decision the way you do opposing backfields.

If nothing else, I'd love to see Vincent Smith subpoenaed as a character witness.



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Old 02-13-2013, 08:12 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by Bo's Pelini View Post
You dont even watch college football.
Wrong.

Shit dude, Derrick Thomas is a ****ing HOF pass rusher. Didn't win shit, didn't even get close the last 7 years of his career.

Why? No QB.

And in the last 10, hell the last TWENTY years I can't think of a single team that won a Super Bowl because they took a pass rusher over a QB.

You know how you win SBs?

You get the Troy Aikman, and then you go trade for Charles Haley.

Or you have the John Elway and you go sign Neil Smith.

**** Jadaveon Clowney, especially as our third pass rusher.
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There is no difference from what Dorsey is doing now than what the franchise has done for the last 25 years.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:12 PM   #107
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I can totally respect this opinion but I just can't wrap my mind around it.

We had Derrick Thomas, one of the best pass rushers of ALL TIME, and he couldn't get into the HoF because he NEVER had a QB worth a shit.

It's time to decide whether we're gonna fish with the big boys or sit on the bank and cut bait.
This goes back to my other post then. You are basically saying at 2.2 we have no shot at any QB worth shit, and I disagree with that.

I don't think Geno Smith is the end all, be all at QB in this draft.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:13 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by htismaqe View Post
I can totally respect this opinion but I just can't wrap my mind around it.

We had Derrick Thomas, one of the best pass rushers of ALL TIME, and he couldn't get into the HoF because he NEVER had a QB worth a shit.

It's time to decide whether we're gonna fish with the big boys or sit on the bank and cut bait.
QBs were harder to find back then. A LOT harder to find.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:14 PM   #109
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Kevin Greene had 160 ****ing sacks.

He win any SBs?
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KC has chosen to hitch their playoff hopes on 30+ year old game manager QB with obvious limitations with no real future prospect at signal caller on the roster.

There is no difference from what Dorsey is doing now than what the franchise has done for the last 25 years.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:14 PM   #110
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Clowney does have rare talent. He's gonna be a beast.

But I think it's bullshit that players are forced to go to college if they are perfectly capable of earning money without college. Like look at the dude from Kentucky, all that money = gone because he was forced to go to college.

This is just another way of control. If you can come out of high school and an NBA team wants to hire you, they should be allowed to. If a football player is ready to play in the NFL and teams are willing to pay you, that shouldn't be disallowed.

After all, earning money is the only reason why people go to college. Because they want to make money!

Money is all that matters in this country, so they should be allowed to earn it.

I bet the NBA/NFL is in collusion with the NCAA. It's another way of controlling people, they are forced to go to college and will get in huge trouble if they even take any money from someone while everyone else around them are getting rich off of them. It's not right. NBA teams get another scouting year while NCAA teams make money off of them.
The rules concerning having to go to college for a certain amount of time before being able to turn pro have benefits for the student athletes, the NCAA, and the professional leagues. The athletes get time to mature and time to find out if they actually have what it takes to play at the next level. The NCAA gets to reap the benefits of marketing these athletes and making a profit, and the professional leagues get to lessen their risks by actually getting to see these athletes play against other top competition before investing millions on teenagers.

This bullshit about the kids get nothing while everyone else gets rich is stupid. A free college education is nothing to sneeze at. Most of these kids are going to need skills other than their athletic prowess to make a living. College affords them the opportunity to acquire these skills. It's just too bad they don't all realize this.

Your argument that these kids are forced to go to college is false by the way. They don't have to go to college. They could simply get a job, stay in shape, and apply for the NBA or NFL draft when they are old enough.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:14 PM   #111
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If Clowney turns out to be as good as Hali he still isn't making us win anything. The importance of the QB is so magnified that even an above average to even average QB is a better option than Clowney or any other elite pass rusher.


And the point that a few have made about Clowney being rendered essentially useless because of no ability from the offense to score is something that can't be overlooked.

Houston dumped Mario and still won 12 games with what can only be considered a middle of the road QB.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:15 PM   #112
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I just wouldn't be willing to role with Clowney and Glennon or Manuel, if a run on QB's happened.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:15 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by mr. tegu View Post
If Clowney turns out to be as good as Hali he still isn't making us win anything. The importance of the QB is so magnified that even an above average to even average QB is a better option than Clowney or any other elite pass rusher.


And the point that a few have made about Clowney being rendered essentially useless because of no ability from the offense to score is something that can't be overlooked.

Houston dumped Mario and still won 12 games with what can only be considered a middle of the road QB.
They replaced Williams with a better player.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:17 PM   #114
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Kevin Greene had 160 ****ing sacks.

He win any SBs?
Jim Kelly threw for 35k, he win any SBs?
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:17 PM   #115
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This goes back to my other post then. You are basically saying at 2.2 we have no shot at any QB worth shit, and I disagree with that.
No, that's not what I'm saying.

I'm saying at 2-2, we have a 1000-times smaller chance of finding any QB worth a shit.

I'm done gambling with the QB position or looking for a diamond in the rough. We have the #1 overall pick for the first time ever. It's put up or shut up time.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:18 PM   #116
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QBs were harder to find back then. A LOT harder to find.
Then I guess it's time to take one. Much less risk.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:19 PM   #117
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No, that's not what I'm saying.

I'm saying at 2-2, we have a 1000-times smaller chance of finding any QB worth a shit.

I'm done gambling with the QB position or looking for a diamond in the rough. We have the #1 overall pick for the first time ever. It's put up or shut up time.
This isn't passing on Andrew Luck and trying to strike gold later. This is passing on Geno Smith for Clowney.

I'm just not buying that it's 1000x smaller of a chance that someone at 2.2 pans out than him.

There's no way you're advocating taking Barkley or Tyler Wilson 1 overall.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:19 PM   #118
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This goes back to my other post then. You are basically saying at 2.2 we have no shot at any QB worth shit, and I disagree with that.

I don't think Geno Smith is the end all, be all at QB in this draft.
The argument can easily be made that there isn't much difference than Geno, Wilson, and Barkley. But if you want to say the guys we can get at 2.2 are just as good options, that is not an argument that can be made. Also, Jags get two picks before we choose a QB...no thanks?
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:19 PM   #119
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Jim Kelly threw for 35k, he win any SBs?
He played in 4.

We've won FOUR playoff games period in 40 years.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:20 PM   #120
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Jim Kelly threw for 35k, he win any SBs?
Are you serious?
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KC has chosen to hitch their playoff hopes on 30+ year old game manager QB with obvious limitations with no real future prospect at signal caller on the roster.

There is no difference from what Dorsey is doing now than what the franchise has done for the last 25 years.
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This is a test for a client's site.
A new website that shows member-created construction site listings that need fill or have excess fill. Dirt Monkey @ https://DirtMonkey.net
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