Jadeveon Clowney explains why he’s choosing to sign with Panthers

In the fight to sign free-agent outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, the Carolina Panthers were the clear underdog. But the odds were defied on Wednesday, and their keys to the upset victory were highlighted by the man himself.

As announced this afternoon, the former No. 1 overall pick and three-time Pro Bowler has agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal with the Panthers. Shortly after, CBS Sports senior NFL insider Josina Anderson got in touch with Clowney—who said the following about his decision:

“We’re going to be just 30 minutes from home. It’s where we do all our community and foundation work going into season 11. Plus, my Grandaddy is getting older; and last year we had a lot of losses in our family. So honestly, it just feels like a a full circle moment being closer.”

Clowney was born in Rock Hill, S.C. on Feb. 14, 1993. After attending South Pointe High School, he played three seasons of college football for the University of South Carolina.

Anderson also heard from Jadeveon’s wife, Najah—who revealed this interesting nugget:

“He spoke with Ravens. He also liked his visit with Jets. Both places were fits, but the Panthers pursued the hardest. This is a special day for us.”

The New York Jets were perceived as the favorites to sign the 31-year-old pass rusher. Clowney also could’ve gone back to Baltimore—where he just turned in one of the very best seasons of his 10-year NFL career.

But, in the end, he chose family over immediate contention.

Oh, and the fact that the two-year contract can be worth up to $24 million probably didn’t hurt either.

Story originally appeared on Panthers Wire