Jadeveon Clowney is going to spend the next couple months trying to prove he deserves to become the top overall selection in the 2014 NFL draft. His agent appears ready to eliminate any possible distraction that could hurt his client's chances.
Andrew Kiel of WRHI in South Carolina reports Charlie Ruffalo, the owner of a sandwich shop in the state, was told by Bus Cook, the defensive end's agent, that he was planning to file legal action if a sign that included Clowney's name wasn't taken down.
Greg Suskin of Channel 9 Eyewitness News in South Carolina shared an image of the sign on Twitter:
Ruffalo explained what he was told by Cook:
He threatened to file an injunction to get me to take it down. I explained to him, ‘If you want to spend the time, effort and money of your client to take it down, I’ll do it for free if you are a nice guy.’
Cook proceeded to tell the radio station that the shop can't use Clowney's name to sell sandwiches without permission:
I've been doing this business for twenty-something years. I've never known people to arbitrarily and openly take somebody's name and use it for their benefit without getting permission. And that's what this is.
Ruffalo goes on the explain that the shop doesn't even sell a Clowney sub. It's just a play on words to generate interest based on the two speeding tickets the Gamecocks superstar received in December, which resulted in hundreds of dollars worth of fines.
The shop owner told WRHI he believes the sign is covered by the First Amendment. Either way, he's planning to change the sign early next week, but it will still carry a theme featuring the possible No. 1 pick.
Clowney didn't return interview requests from the radio station, but he did talk with Josh Kendall of The State about his ambitions and why he plans to take on every challenge during the draft process, including the NFL Scouting Combine:
It's because I want to be the No. 1 pick, not the money. I want to be No. 1.
I am ready. I am upfront. I am not going to hold anything back. I am going to do everything. The numbers I am going to put up are going to be amazing.
The athletic defender faces an uphill battle to reach his goal.
Although he certainly possesses the tools and upside necessary to go first, there are three quarterbacks—Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles—also in the running. The Houston Texans, which currently own the pick, and any team that may consider trading into the slot would probably be aiming for one of the signal-callers.
That said, an impeccable run through the draft process could change that outlook. Clowney must ace the on-field testing and off-field interviews to make that happen, though.
The situation involving the sandwich shop should be a non-issue moving forward.