Clayborn Returns to the UI
May 28, 2013
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
"Playing in Kinnick on Saturdays, the whole experience -- showing up before the games, walking through the crowd, doing the walk and rubbing Nile Kinnick's helmet. I remember all that and those are my best memories," said Clayborn.
The St. Louis native returned to Iowa City last week to shoot a television spot on all-terrain vehicle safety for the UI Children's Hospital. While in town, he had an opportunity to tour the Children's Hospital and the Iowa football program's new Indoor Practice Facility.
"It is nice to have this building and not have The Bubble anymore," he said. "It's an advantage to be able to come in here out of (bad weather) and get some good work in."
Clayborn says the environment at the University of Iowa and working with strength coach Chris Doyle prepared him for his transition to the NFL, and he still feels a sense of brotherhood with the Iowa football family.
"I talk to (Tyler) Sash and Marvin (McNutt, Jr.)," said Clayborn. "We try to keep in contact, and it's always good to talk to those guys to tell stories about what we did at Iowa.
"We're going to have these memories for the rest of our lives and cherish them. Hopefully when we have a reunion, we can come back here and talk about them some more."
Sash is a defensive back for the New York Giants; McNutt is a wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins.
Clayborn says he still gets questions about Iowa, and they are ones he is glad to answer.
"I tell people it's a regular college town and everybody is friendly, and it's a nice place to come to college," he said. "When I came, I didn't know what to expect, but after leaving, I am glad that I came."
Compliments also come the program's way when Clayborn discusses the Hawkeyes with his NFL teammates.
"Whenever other Big Ten guys ask me how Iowa was, they always give me compliments saying it was tough to play against us, or the offensive line was so good," said Clayborn. "I always get compliments when I talk to other Big Ten players or other opponents we played around the country."
Clayborn is entering his third season in the National Football League with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After posting 42 tackles and 7.5 sacks as a rookie in 2011, his second season ended after three games when he tore a knee ligament at Dallas.
"It was rough going through the injury," he said. "It was my first major injury, but I had a support system with my mom, sister, and teammates to help me out. It was bad, but it wasn't that bad."
Eager only begins describe Clayborn's emotions when thinking about returning to the field in 2013.
"It has been too long since I put on the pads and got out there trying to sack the quarterback," he said. "I can't wait to get into camp, get through preseason, and start the season."