AFC Notes: Clowney, Rice, Manziel, Luck

Despite outside criticism, Texans coach Bill O’Brien is still high on No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, writes Tania Ganguli of “This guy has worked extremely hard to recover from injuries,” coach Bill O’Brien said. “And I want to be real clear about this with him, as it relates to us here to the Houston Texans. We think very highly of him. We know he’s going to be a really good player. He’s been unlucky. I don’t really care what anybody thinks about what I say in that realm of being unlucky or lucky. He’s had a sports hernia, he’s had a concussion and now he’s dealing with a knee injury. Those things are not easy in your rookie year.” More from around the NFL..

  • Janay Rice told Matt Lauer of NBC that the Ravens suggested that she apologize for her role in the Ray Rice domestic violence incident at their offseason press conference (h/t Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post). One has to wonder if Janay Rice’s accusation could have some bearing on the running back’s case against the Ravens as he seeks to recover some of his 2014 salary.
  • Browns coach Mike Pettine told reporters, including Pat McManamon of (via Twitter), that he feels no pressure from ownership or the front office to play Johnny Manziel. Pettine is currently deciding on whether to stick with the struggling Brian Hoyer or turn the starting job over to Manziel.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap looked at a trio of players who improved their contract leverage with their play in Week 13. That list includes Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who destroyed the Washington defense to the tune of 370 yards and five scores. By March, Fitzgerald expects Luck to be the highest paid QB in the NFL.
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