• Brian L. Barefield

Time Does Not Heal All Wounds

Photos Courtesy Of Spring Branch Sports Line

There is a famous quote by Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy who is the mother of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy.

The phrase that has been taken out of that quote and used over and over again to help individuals get over tragic events such as death, divorce, loss of employment, etc. is, “Time heals all wounds.” I can remember when my wife Jamila and my mom passed away 15 months apart from each other. My social media timeline was flooded with that quote as my friends and family thought that over time I would heal from their not being on earth anymore. It is too soon for me to say whether it has or not. Check back with me in about ten years and I will have an answer for you.

If you read the complete quote again you may get a sense of what Houston Texans fans are feeling as the scab from a wound that was supposed to be covered up since 2017 has come off and is exposed again. To make matters worse, it seems like some may be throwing salt in it this time.

This past week the Texans upper management decided not to negotiate with veteran DE/LB Jadeveon Clowney on a long-term contract extension. Clowney who is playing under the franchise tag this year at $15.967 million is unlikely to show up for training camp and has missed all of the Texans off-season workouts. The 2018 Pro Bowl selection had one of his best seasons on last year as he finished the regular season with nine sacks, 47 tackles and 16 tackle for losses. This coming off a 2017 campaign that earned him first team All-Pro honors. Clowney does not have a sexy career sack count like his teammate J.J. Watt (92), but his on the field presence helps add to that ever-growing number for Watt. They have become one of the best defensive line tandems in the league.

Photo Courtesy of Spring Branch Sports Line

What is sad for Texans fans is that they have been through this before with another player who like Clowney, showed management that he was worth signing to a long-term contract, but never received it. Does the name A.J Bouye ring a bell? Yep, and there was that salt in the wound I mentioned earlier.

Bouye was signed by the Texans as an undrafted free agent after playing four years at the University of Central Florida. In April of 2013, he agreed to a three-year contract worth 1.41 million that included a signing bonus of $5,000. He was riddled with injuries his rookie year (Clowney was as well), but by the end of the 2016 season Bouye had become a fan favorite as he finished the season with 63 combined tackles (48 solo), and 16 pass deflections while starting 11 games.

In the playoffs, Buoye gave the Texans management a glimpse of what the future would look like with him at cornerback. He had a combined six pass deflections, five solo tackles and two interceptions with one coming against the New England Patriots future first ballot Hall of Famer, QB Tom Brady. That one-year $1.67 million tender that the Texans gave him at the beginning of the season was surely just a down payment as a measure of good faith, right? No way they allow a player of this magnitude to leave correct?

Former Texans general manager Rick Smith made it abundtly clear that he wanted Bouye back as he expressed that you can’t have too many cornerbacks on one team with the way that the league has fallen in love with the passing game.

“I certainly couldn’t be any more proud of any of our players than I am of A.J. with the way he improved his play and his confidence,” said, Smith, per the Houston Chronicle. “I think he had an outstanding year. I’ve said many, many times you can’t have too many corners. We’ve talked about that a lot.

“I think he’s a fine young man. He fits our profile and we certainly would like to have him back and we’re going to do everything we can to get that done.”

Bouye expressed similar feelings about staying in Houston in an interview with Aaron Wilson from the Chronicle.

“I would like to be back,” said Bouye. “It'll mean a lot because it'll show that they wanted me and saw what I did this year and there are better things that are going to happen in the future from an individual and team standpoint. I've been through a lot here with the organization, a lot of ups and downs, and they never gave up on me. I'm appreciative of that.”

Yet we remember how that story played out correct? A.J. signed a 5-year $67.5 million contract with in conference rival Jacksonville Jaguars and went on to have one of the best seasons in his entire career. In 2017 he made second team All-Pro after having 18 pass deflections and a career high six interceptions, while the Texans entire secondary combined for nine.

By now you are screaming out, “Sarge, we get it. We were there. We lived through it.” And while I do understand and share your pain, I am trying to get you prepared for the exact same scenario if this contract fiasco doesn’t work itself out. While I don’t think Clowney deserves a Rams DL Aaron Donald or Bears LB Khalil Mack type of contract. I do believe that he should be paid a salary that is right under those two All-Pro’s. He will never have the large sack total that everyone loves to see, but it will be hard for the Texans to replace those intangibles he brings to the field every Sunday.

Photo Courtesy of Spring Branch Sports Line

Let me leave you with this little nugget that I use in my everyday life. Time is the most valuable possession a human being has and once it’s gone you can never get it back. Someone pass that on to the brass down off of Kirby.

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