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Is Delray Native the Next Wide Receiver Diva?

You're the hometown boy, David Clowney, so we want to root for you -- even though you play for the Jets. But why do you have to make it so hard?

This month, Clowney has sparked controversy by complaining about coaching decisions in Twitter posts. Not a wise move for a football club still smarting from Keyshawn Johnson's "Give me the damn ball" refrain a decade ago.

But Clowney is also liable to alienate part of his local cheering section. A Queens native, he spent formative years in South Florida, attending Atlantic High School in Delray Beach. Clowney attended college at Virginia Tech (a University of Miami rival), and after being drafted by the Jets, he burned the Dolphins for 72 yards earlier this month in his best game as a pro.

If that weren't enough, in a recent article in Newsday, Clowney anointed Delray the murder capital of Florida.

From this article in Friday's edition:

Clowney hails from Delray Beach, Fla., a city north of Miami that features the No. 1 murder rate in the state.

"Friends of mine have been shot at, killed by gun wars, bullets," the second-year Jets wide receiver said Thursday. "Seeing people addicted to drugs, drug addicts just walking down the street. That's something as a kid, you look at like, 'Nah, I definitely don't want to live like that.' . . . Regardless if it's 9 o'clock in the morning getting ready to catch a school bus or 12 o'clock at night, they are in that same spot in the same area with the same clothes on every day. And as a kid, you grow up thinking that 'I don't want to live that life.' "

OK, so it's hard to tell whether Clowney claimed that number-one rating or if the reporter added it. There's no way that's true. Here are some recent statistics on murder rates in Florida cities, and Delray isn't mentioned.

All of the above suggests that Clowney, who had another big game yesterday, catching four passes for 79 yards and a touchdown, is a diva in utero.

But there's hope. That same Newsday article tells of heroic feats the Delray native performs on behalf of his family.
Clowney's nights are spent taking care of his 11-year-old brother Jordan, whom he took custody of to make life easier for his mother, who has chronic asthma and needs hospital care almost every six months. He handles all the fatherly duties, and it's been a blessing of sorts.

"It took away my nightlife," said Clowney, who is studying for his master's in criminal justice at nearby College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown, N.J. "I was able to get more rest. I know I can't be out every night when I have him with me... I have to make sure I stay home with him, make sure he gets all his homework done.

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Thomas Francis

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