NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said of Clowney's plans on Monday:
"From what I understand, the tentative plan is to show up after the third preseason game -- they play the Cowboys in late August. That is my understanding of when Clowney is planning to show up. (He) wouldn't play in the fourth preseason game. Would get a week to make sure he's alright. And I am told he's in great shape. And the Texans don't have any worries there."
Houston's third preseason game is scheduled for Aug. 24.
Clowney has decided to hold out after the team placed the franchise tag on him in March. The Texans designated the three-time Pro Bowler as a "DE/OLB," which has led to problems between the two sides. The defensive end tag pays out $17.128 million for 2019 while the linebacker tag is for $15.443 million, a difference of approximately $1.7 million.
Clowney and Houston were unable to reach an agreement on a multi-year deal by July 15, resulting in the pass-rusher having to play the upcoming season under the franchise tag.
ESPN's Adam Schefter last month that the NFL Players Association was expected to file a grievance to help Clowney collect the higher total.
Taken with the top overall pick in 2014, Clowney has spent his entire five-year career in Houston. He is coming off his third consecutive Pro Bowl selection, piling up 47 tackles, nine sacks and one forced fumbles last year.
He did more than just take down opposing quarterbacks, though. He made a habit of stuffing opposing runners, as Pro Football Focus noted:
That type of production is tough to replace, even with three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt on the field. Houston coach Bill O'Brien acknowledged as much during training camp recently.
"I think just from my knowledge of what I know, he's working hard," O'Brien said, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. "We want him back. We need him here, but he'll come when he decides it's best for him to come."
Fortunately for O'Brien and Co., it does not appear Clowney's holdout will last into the regular season.