Jadeveon Clowney's already been put on notice. By his new Houston Texans teammate J.J. Watt. By his new position coach Mike Vrabel. Heck, by the entire city.
And the rightful No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft seems to love it.
Clowney uses the same phrase twice in talking about his conversations with some of the most important people in his new pro football universe. In his first interaction with the Houston media, Clowney notes that both Watt and Vrabel told him they're "going to be on my butt."
"Oh yeah, I think I've got something to prove to people. I've got to prove a lot of people are wrong."
"I just got off the phone with him," Clowney says of Watt in a conference call with reporters at NRG Stadium. "He told me he's going to be on my butt when I get there."
That speaks to the increased leadership role Watt is expected to take on this younger, Bill O'Brien coached team. Of course, it also speaks to those work ethic concerns that hounded Clowney leading up to the draft. Just not enough to ever make the Texans think of passing on his once in a generation talent.
"We were very bullish on what we were asking for (in any potential trade for the No. 1 overall pick)" Texans general manager Rick Smith says, "because we felt so good about the pick."
Smith swears he harbors no doubts that the 6-foot-6, 266-pound athletic marvel will bring enough intensity to his new job.
"He wants to be great," Smith says. "He was the No. 1 player coming out of high school. He wanted to be No. 1 in the draft because he wants to be great."
Mission accomplished. Now he just needs to live up to that talent from day one. All eyes will be on Clowney when the Texans open the new season at home against Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins on Sept. 7.
"Oh yeah, I think I've got something to prove to people," Clowney says. "I've got to prove a lot of people are wrong."
Clowney will wear No. 90 with the Texans (the same number he wore in high school since his No. 7 college number isn't available to college players) and he'll play outside linebacker in Romeo Crennel's often innovative defensive schemes — the better to unleash his pass rushing talents.
He'll have a number of Texans pushing him to reach his full dominant potential — from Watt to Vrabel to former South Carolina teammate D.J. Swearinger to confidant (and fellow South Carolina man) Johnathan Joseph, who texted Clowney once a week during the long draft buildup. Despite the belief that O'Brien is a quarterback man, the new coach also made sure to weigh in with his support.
"Bill O'Brien told me he wanted me," Clowney says.
Clowney's headed to Houston. To work.