According to media accounts from the day, Spurrier was less than pleased. He said if Clowney "wants to play, we will welcome him to come play for the team if he wants." Spurrier later said that he was frustrated because Clowney waited so long to tell his coaches he wouldn't play.
But for much of the season, he worried about the bone spurs, the ribs and his future. His agent, Bus Cook, obviously worries about that, too. He recently said Clowney would do no more workouts for NFL teams, fearing his client might be injured. In an interview with ESPN.com, Cook said he decided to shut him down in part after watching Clemson's Brandon Thomas tear an ACL a month before the draft. Cook said it was totally his decision, not Clowney's.
Carroll, Clowney's high school coach, said it was a good move.
"Let me tell you something," he said. "You and I, if we lose our jobs, we've got a chance to get another job. Clowney's got one opportunity at wealth. He can be wealthy one way. If Clowney doesn't make it in the NFL, he wouldn't be able to go out there and make millions of dollars."
Clowney didn't vomit on his pro day April 2. He weighed 266 pounds, glided around as if he weighed 180, and was spectacular on a sweltering spring day when the temperature soared to 90 degrees. He did an interview for roughly 100 reporters who came to watch him work out. Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien was there. He said he isn't concerned about Clowney's work ethic.
But O'Brien is clearly curious about how Clowney's brain works. When a reporter asked Clowney if he deserved to be No. 1, O'Brien leaned in to listen.
"It's a long process," O'Brien said. "There's so many stages to the process. You watch the guy on film. You go to the combine. You interview the guy. You try to get a feel for a guy in as many spots as you can. That's just another part of it."
Clowney, by the way, said he deserves to be the No. 1 pick. He cares about being known as the best. When he was training with Hartigan, he ran into a number of NFL veterans and asked them questions. He didn't want to know about how he could improve his draft stock. He asked them how he could make an impact as a rookie.
"They were all kind of trying to get a feel for him," Hartigan said. "After the first day, they were like, 'Man, we really like this kid. We want to help this kid.'"
They wanted to help because they've been there and they know. In the months before the draft, even Superman is vulnerable.