"Just watching him work it makes you want to work even more," Clowney said. "Sometimes we maybe go into an extra workout with him. He's a team guy. Always says he can help you no matter what. (I'm) just happy to be beside him out there on the field."
The defensive playmaker out of South Carolina's speed and ability had scouts fawning over his potential years ago and now the number of ways he can be deployed in a 3-4 defense.
Part of that potential involves getting Clowney and Watt on the field together in games. With the departure of Antonio Smith to the Oakland Raiders in free agency, Watt will need a foil. While Clowney is expected to see time at both outside linebacker and as a defensive end, having him on the other side of Watt could take up that slack.
Still, it is early in camp and Watt knows what Clowney is going through. While the expectations are high, things will take time.
"I don't know enough yet to tell you. We're in just helmets right now," Watt said when asked about Clowney's potential impact. "I know he's in the playbook and he's working hard. As we go forward we'll see a lot more."
Clowney's first goal, like that of all the rookies, is to transition to his team and to the NFL. For Clowney, that includes learning the playbook and even learning names.
"For any rookie it's very difficult to make the jump from college to pro. It doesn't really matter if they were drafted number one or undrafted, they're all trying to learn and keep pace with the veterans," coach Bill O'Brien said. "I think he's doing a decent job of and he's working hard at it."
Star receiver Andre Johnson was absent from the session. One of the franchise's marquee players, Johnson said two weeks ago that he would not attend Texans workouts.
"I said last week that he and I have had positive conversations," O'Brien said. "I have a ton of respect for him. We'd love to have him here right now, but that's up to him. We're moving forward with the players that are here and these guys are working extremely hard."
With Johnson's absence and a quarterback competition that is open and far from solved, Houston's defense could be called upon to carry the load early in the season. A big part of that equation will be figuring out how to best deploy playmakers such as Watt and Clowney.
Around the league
Seahawks • Apparently Earl Thomas' $40 million extension with the Seattle Seahawks did not mean fewer responsibilities on his plate.
Next up for the All-Pro free safety: punt returning?
Don't scoff. Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday in Renton, Wash., after the first organized team activity of the Seahawks' offseason program, that Thomas would be the first up as punt returner right now. That all could change by the time the Sept. 4 season opener against Green Bay arrives. But for now, the job is Thomas' to lose.
The question of who will return punts after the departure of Golden Tate in free agency is one of the few the Seahawks must answer this offseason. Tate was a standout for Seattle in that role, but he left for bigger money from Detroit during free agency.
Also Tuesday, Carroll said that Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith has undergone surgery to remove "loose bodies" from his right ankle but is expected back for the start of training camp in July.
Jaguars • Jacksonville's current and future quarterbacks took the field together for the first time Tuesday for the team's first of 10 offseason practice sessions.
Incumbent Chad Henne and rookie Blake Bortles took the majority of snaps in Tuesday's OTA, with Henne working strictly with the No. 1 unit, Bortles directing the second team. Bortles was the No. 3 overall selection in the 2014 draft, but Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell said at that time Henne would continue as the starter.
Titans •Jake Locker is back on the field with Tennessee a couple of weeks ahead of the schedule doctors estimated for his return from an injured right foot.
The quarterback said Tuesday that he pushed hard to give himself every chance to learn a new offense before the season starts.
"With it being a new system, I want to run plays behind center as often and as much as I can before we take our first snap of the season," Locker said. "And I want the guy son the team to know it means something to me. I'm not just taking a break because I can. I'm going to do everything I can to be on the field, and hopefully it helps create a culture that we're all going to work that way."
Locker took part in his first team drills Tuesday since suffering a Lisfranc injury to his right foot Nov. 10, which cost him the final seven games of the season. He has missed 14 of his first 32 starts and now is busy learning a third offense in four seasons with a coaching change. Locker had to watch the voluntary three-day minicamp in April, and his personal target had been being on the field for this final stage of the offseason.