INDIANAPOLIS—Jimmy Clausen of Notre Dame still hopes to be a top-10 pick in the 2010 NFL draft, and the top quarterback selected, despite not throwing at the NFL Scouting Combine because of recent toe surgery. Sporting News’ Clifton Brown and other reporters spoke with Clausen at the Combine.
Q: Can you describe the right toe injury you played with last season?
A: I hurt it in the third game of the season against Michigan State. I tore two ligaments in that game, and I played the rest of the season taking painkillers.
Q: How much do you think you matured in college?
A: I’ve grown tremendously. There have been some ups and downs, a lot of lessons I’ve learned.
Q: Are you ready to lead an NFL team?
A: I think I’m ready. That’s one of the reasons I went to Notre Dame—to best replicate what it was going to be like playing big-time football in the NFL as a rookie. I struggled my first year, got a little better my second year and made a drastic change my junior year in college.
Q: Are you on schedule to work out for NFL coaches, scouts and general managers April 9?
A: Yeah, that’s what I’m shooting for, and that’s when the doctor said I’ll be ready.
Q: Will you be able to fully work out at that point?
Q: How do you react to people who doubt your abilities as a leader?
A: To be honest, some of the people that say those things just don’t know me as a person. That’s why I was so excited to come here, talk to all the coaches and the GMs and owners—so they get a feel for me as a person. Being at Notre Dame, the quarterback and the head coach get all the credit when things go right and a lot of blame when things go wrong. It’s a tough situation being in a fishbowl at Notre Dame.
Q: Do you feel capable of being the No. 1 overall pick, and is that a goal?
A: If that’s the team that wants to pick me. I just want to go somewhere where they want me. I’m about trying to make my team better.
Clifton Brown is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.