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Breakfast: The unseen faces of Jadeveon Clowney's return


We were sitting in the radio studio the day after a gut wrenching home loss to Cincinnati last year, lamenting the loss to the Bengals and the fact that the team had just lost Ryan Mallett to a season-ending injury. It was a difficult day, to say the least. As Marc Vandermeer and I neared the end of our Monday radio shows, we saw news that threw us both for a loop.

"Jadeveon Clowney's knee is not improving, facing microfracture surgery."

WHAAAA…???? C'mon, that's a bad joke, right. First, Mallett then Clowney, in the same week? It didn't seem possible but it was that word "microfracture" that caught both of our attention. If there is a word worse than "torn ACL", it's "microfracture".

I hoped that it was only premature speculation, but when it became reality a few days later, I couldn't help but think, at the time, that there was no way that Clowney would, or could, even see the field in 2015. I'm not usually worst case scenario guy, but for a moment in time, I became that guy.

Flash forward to August 17th, the team's first practice after the win over the 49ers and who's on the field?

Jadeveon Clowney.

Granted, the former overall No. 1 pick is practicing in a limited capacity but the fact that he's out on the field is a story worth telling. Throughout the past few weeks, I've heard many people praise JD for his commitment to rehab and the desire to get back. Look, it's the patient, ultimately, that has to do the work but there's one group that Clowney thanked during his Monday press conference that deserve kudos as well for his expedient return.

He mentioned Roland Ramirez, the team's coordinator of rehabilitation services, as being the guy who pushed him to "go, go" all the time throughout the rehab. Part pain in the backside, part psychologist, part friend, part motivator, an NFL training staff wears more than enough hats on a regular basis.

However, throw in months of boring and tedious rehab and the hat changes by the hour. A training staff is never front and center and it's best when they're bored just standing around on the sideline throughout the season (think about it). Unfortunately, Roland was forced to put in a ton of work with a guy that was needed back on this squad and a guy that wanted nothing more than to be back on that field. During the Clowney work out montage on Hard Knocks, episode two, you can see Roland right there alongside, encouraging and directing him on the field.

I stopped Roland at practice on Wednesday and told him that I hoped that people recognized the work that he did to help JD get back on the field. As expected, he deflected the kudos on to Clowney, saying it was all Jadeveon that did the work.

Ultimately, he wasn't wrong - Clowney did ALL of the work. But, it was Roland and this training staff, led by head athletic trainer Geoff Kaplan, that pushed, cajoled and encouraged No. 90 throughout the entire process. Because of it, Texans fans have a great chance to see Jadeveon Clowney back on the field. In 2015.

Jadeveon Clowney signed a deal with the Texans on Friday. Check out these photos from the Draft, OTAs and more.

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