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Clelin Ferrell wants people to know his name - and its correct pronunciation

Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell (99) and teammates

Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell (99) and teammates celebrate their 27-7 victory over Boston College on Nov. 10, 2018, in Boston. Credit: AP/Elise Amendola

INDIANAPOLIS - A lot of players try to correct misconceptions people have about them at the NFL Scouting Combine. Clelin Ferrell is focusing on correcting mispronunciations.

His name has a long E sound (pronounced Clee-lin), so whenever someone here has addressed him as Clelin with a short vowel, hes made a point to say his name the correct way.

Its something hes been doing all his life but has really started to aggressively emphasize since gaining some measure of fame as a premier college defensive end at Clemson and now an NFL prospect.

“I’m not trying to be an [expletive],” he said, “but I take a lot of pride in it. And I want to change the narrative. I get it, it is spelled like Clelin with the lowercase e. But hopefully if I keep playing well, more people will really learn it and I won’t have to correct them anymore.”

As a likely first-round pick, he'll want his name to be called out properly when Roger Goodell announces it from the stage in Nashville. But it isn't just the commissioner he wants to get it right, which is why he never lets the mispronunciation linger beyond the first time it occurs.

“It’s just in case when I meet someone and we become really good friends, then right off the bat I tell them how to pronounce it,” he said.

The name — or at least the first part of it — is a family heirloom of sorts. His father, who died when Clelin was 13, was named Clevester. He has a brother Clevester Jr., a sister named Cleta and another brother named Clevon.

Of course, Clelin could have had it worse.

“I don’t know if this is true or not, but my sister Cleta told me my dad’s great-uncle, his name was Cleophus, and they were considering naming me Cleophus,” he said. “Thank God they didn’t name me that. That would have been bad.”

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