On Sunday, Jadeveon Clowney will be playing just 27 miles from his hometown of Rock Hill, South Carolina. He'll face another No. 1 overall draft selection in Cam Newton, a quarterback he has followed throughout his college and NFL career.
There's a lot for the second-year outside linebacker to be excited for, but he's got a new appreciation for every game of the 2015 season.
"All of them are special to me because I'm out here this year," Clowney said. "I'm happy to be back out there so all of them are special."
Clowney, who will be playing just his second game after December's microfracture knee surgery, will gradually see his playing time increase each week. All the rehab he did this summer made him stronger than he's ever been, he says, and he's ready to play more.
"It benefitted everything around me because I had to push myself more and more than I ever did this offseason because of my knee," Clowney said. "And I got a lot stronger. I got everything else stronger around my knee, upper body, legs, hips, and all."
Now he heads back to the Carolinas for Sunday's game against the Panthers and his phone hasn't stopped ringing since Sunday evening. Clowney has already gotten ticket requests from about 30-40 family members and friends.
"My whole check is gone," Clowney joked.
Many of his closest friends and family members have never seen Clowney in NFL action. The Texans 2014 No. 1 overall pick is trying to accommodate as many as he can.
"A lot of the guys I hang out with back home, it's the first time for them to come out so it's going to be awesome to get those guys to come out and watch me play," Clowney said.
The (0-1) Texans and (1-0) Panthers will kickoff Sunday at noon on CBS KHOU-11 and SportsRadio 610.
Texans players attended several community events around Houston on Tuesday.