Clowney shows how it's done, sort of
Jadeveon Clowney attended the opening of a new Houston Texans teen club at a Houston Boys and Girls Club this week.
During the visit he joined a room of teenage girls and a couple of Texans cheerleaders to do a few yoga poses. It was clear that the hulking defensive end should probably stick to his day job as Clowney struggled with balance on most of the poses he attempted, drawing giggles from everyone in the room.
The top overall pick in the 2014 draft seemed proud of his effort, even though it was clearly subpar.
''I do it in the offseason a little bit, so I had to go in there and show them what to do,'' he said. ''I had to show them a little bit.''
The exercise room is part of a facility for teenagers that was built thanks to a $750,000 donation by the Texans. Clowney was happy to participate in the opening because working with inner-city youth is an important cause to him.
''It's very good for the kids to have somewhere to go after school,'' he said. ''When I was growing up ... and getting out of school my mom was going to work, so it was my grandparents that were taking care of me and they couldn't keep up with me. So you know how that ended - getting into everything.''
Clowney will also show his support for Houston's Boys and Girls Clubs this weekend during the NFL's ''My Cause My Cleats'' campaign. His blue cleats feature a drawing of the Houston skyline with ''Great futures start here'' on one shoe and ''Lend a helping hand'' on the other. The shoes will be auctioned off and the proceeds will benefit the Boys and Girls Club.
''Growing up back home we didn't have a lot of Boys and Girls Clubs and if we did we didn't know much about them,'' he said. ''So now that they have them kids can ... see everything they've got going after school until their parents get off work. So it's very important to keep them out of the streets and keep them active in something positive.''
JUST FOR KICKS: The Detroit Lions and Baltimore Ravens have surged into first place in their divisions at least in part because they have perhaps the NFL's most clutch and best kickers this season.
NFC North leader Detroit's Matt Prater and Baltimore's Justin Tucker were selected NFC and AFC special teams players of the week after their latest performances.
Prater made a 40-yard field goal as time expired in regulation, breaking a tie with Minnesota in their game on Thanksgiving to give the Lions their sixth win in seven games.
Tucker became the ninth player in league history to make three field goals from 50-plus yards in one game, and connected on a fourth kick, in a 19-14 win over Cincinnati to keep the Ravens in a tie with Pittsburgh atop the AFC North with their third win in four games. Tucker has made all 27 of his field goal attempts this season, extending his run to 34 in a row since last year for the sixth-longest streak in league history. He has made all 15 extra point kicks, too.
With a chance to tie a game or take a lead in the fourth quarter or overtime, Prater is 25 of 25 in his career.
Prater, 21 of 24 on field goals in 2016, has helped the Lions come back from fourth-quarter deficits to win seven games this season.
''It's been remarkable what he's been able to do, hopefully he can keep going,'' Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford said. ''Hopefully we don't have to put him in that situation too many more times, but that unit is doing a heck of a job.''
NOT ENOUGH COOKS: Saints receiver Brandin Cooks didn't hide his annoyance this week after none of Drew Brees' 36 passes came his way during a 49-21 victory over Los Angeles last Sunday.
''This is a very emotional game and every once in a while you've got to express that,'' the 2014 first-round draft choice said. ''You have to express what you want. Closed mouths don't get fed.''
Earlier this week, Cooks wrote, ''I guess I have to turn into a businessman,'' in a social media post, the implication being that he was displeased about his role in the offense.
Brees wound up completing 28 passes for 310 yards and four TDs, including nine passes to rookie Michael Thomas for 108 yards and two TDs.
Brees said Cooks, who had 51 catches for 736 yards and six TDs through the Saints' first 10 games, played a key role in New Orleans' big day against the Rams. Cooks was the primary receiver on several plays, but coverage rolled toward Cooks, opening up better throws elsewhere, Brees explained.
Cooks said, ''As a competitor, I was frustrated. ... I always want to help more than I feel like I necessarily did in that game.''
Cooks added that his teammates understood his agitation is ''not coming from a selfish standpoint, so that's the beautiful part about it. ... They know that's coming from the want to be great, the want to be remembered.''
PEYTON'S HONOR: Peyton Manning was honored this week by the March of Dimes as its Sportsman of the Year.
The retired quarterback and five-time NFL Most Valuable Player was joined at the ceremony in New York by WNBA star Swin Cash, who was recognized as the Sportswoman of the Year by the organization.
Pete Bevacqua, CEO of the PGA of America, and George Pyne, founder and CEO of Bruin Sports Capital, received awards, as well.
Each year, March of Dimes honors the outstanding achievements of men and women in the sports industry. Past recipients include New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera; NBA Commissioner David Stern; former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue; baseball greats Mickey Mantle and Cal Ripken Jr.; tennis legends Andre Agassi and Venus Williams; basketball Hall of Famers Patrick Ewing and Lisa Leslie; and the U.S. Women's soccer team.
COLLEGIATE BOWL: The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl will be televised by Fox Sports 1 on Jan. 21.
The all-star game overseen by the NFL players' union will kick off at 4 p.m. EST and will be played at the StubHub Center on the campus of California State University Dominguez Hills.
''The opportunity to partner with the NFLPA and present the Collegiate Bowl on FS1 was something we jumped at,'' said John Entz, Fox Sports president of production and executive producer. ''The pre-draft evaluation process drives more and more interest among football fans every year, so we're looking forward to being a part of that and covering a competitive game.''
The fifth edition of the game will have former NFL coaches Mike Martz and Jim Zorn leading each team.
AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner and Sports Writers Kristie Rieken, Larry Lage and Brett Martel contributed.
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