Seahawks left tackle Duane Brown (76) blocks against Lions defensive end Romeo Okwara (95) during the second half of a game on Oct. 28, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Seahawks left tackle Duane Brown (76) blocks against Lions defensive end Romeo Okwara (95) during the second half of a game on Oct. 28, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Brown played key role in Clowney landing with Hawks

The left tackle helped sell his former Texans teammate on the benefits of Seattle’s organization.

  • By Gregg Bell The News Tribune
  • Tuesday, September 3, 2019 7:30pm
  • SportsSeahawks

By Gregg Bell / The News Tribune

RENTON — It’s a good thing the Seattle Seahawks have Duane Brown.

Because he’s a big reason why they now have Jadeveon Clowney.

A month ago, while trying to figure out what to do next in his contract holdout with Houston, Clowney received a call from Seattle. It was Brown, his former Texans teammate.

“I was just talking to him and I was like, ‘Duane, how you like it up there?’” Clowney said Monday. “He called and I was like, ‘Bro, what do you think?’

“He said, ‘You need to come play with us. You would love it here. Great weather; it’s not hot like Houston. Great fan support. Other great teammates on this team. Come be part of something great.’

“I was like ‘Man, you know what? I’m going to try to look into that and try to get in there with you guys.’”

The Seahawks owe Brown a finder’s fee.

Monday’s practice was Clowney’s first since Saturday’s trade that netted Seattle the No. 1-overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft at the cost of second-year, part-time defensive end Jacob Martin, about-to-be-cut end Barkevious Mingo and a third-round pick.

Brown came up to Clowney at the start of Monday’s practice. They laughed. Brown patted Clowney on the back.

Every Seahawk should be patting Brown for his advice to a friend that turned Seattle’s defensive front seven into one of the league’s most formidable.

“Like I said, relationships with guys. I mean with Duane and other guys. Me and my girl sat down and thought about it like, ‘Would you want to go somewhere else?’” Clowney said. “We were, like, this might be the greatest situation for me. Just come up here. They run a 4-3. I haven’t been in that system in a while. That had a big part in it.

“I looked at the linebacker corps. Great leaders like Bobby Wagner here and guys that are around the ball. I feel like I can fit in right with the guys. I wanted to come here.”

Brown was Clowney’s teammate from 2014-17, until Houston traded Brown to Seattle. They used to go against each other directly, one-on-one, almost every day.

“Without question Duane helped us through the process in making us know who we’re dealing with, and the player he used to practice against,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “Capability, potential, habits, background, family.

“We really had a lot of insight because of Duane.”

Between his friendship with Brown and longing to get back to his favored 4-3 scheme, which is what Carroll runs with the Seahawks, Clowney didn’t need much more to entice him onto a plane from Houston to Seattle before dawn Saturday.

Monday was the first time Clowney has practiced since the first days of January, before the Texans’ playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts. For now, he’s only learning the base defenses of Carroll’s system.

Yet Clowney already knows what he loves about Seattle’s 4-3 scheme. He spent his first five years and 62 games in the league playing in Houston’s 3-4. At times he dropped into pass coverage against tight ends as an outside linebacker off the ball and all over the field. But Clowney admitted he’d rather attack up the field instead of reading and reacting to just about all of it.

“That played a big part in it,” Clowney said of the Seahawks’ scheme.

Clowney was so excellent storming into the backfields of offenses in college while in South Carolina’s 4-3 defense, he was the first-overall pick by Houston in the 2014 NFL draft.

“Coming out of college, it was very, very different for me,” he said with a chuckle of the Texans’ 3-4 defense.

“I get back in there being more vertical (up the field, going after quarterbacks), not dropping. Just really putting my head down and grinding. When you are going forward, you don’t think about a lot. So that’s the best thing about this defense. You’ve got guys behind you who can make all the plays, and along the front we just get moving up the field, causing havoc.

“So that’s what I like about this.”

Clowney said he’d been working out for months at DBC Fitness in Miami and Leo’s in Houston. He was set to finally sign the franchise-tag tender Houston had given him in March worth a guaranteed $15.97 million for this season, ready to come in for the start of the Texans’ season and Sunday’s opener. That’s when the Seahawks called and asked him to fly, pronto, to Seattle to finalize this trade that makes him a teammate of Russell Wilson, instead of an occasional chaser of the quarterback.

“Before I knew I was getting traded, I was looking forward to reporting,” he said. “When I got the phone call about being traded, I was like, ‘Where do I sign at?’

“Like I said, I’m being part of something great. I think Russ is a great quarterback. I was like, ‘Who should I go play for? Somebody who can move that ball down the field and can score points.’

“I know he’s good at it. We played him. He’s a great quarterback and that played a big role in it, also.”

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