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Football The Priority But Corey Clement Also Embraces 'Yeroc'

Veteran running back performs music in his free time

Arizona Cardinals running back Corey Clement (23) during 2023 Cardinals Training Camp at State Farm Stadium on Tuesday, August 1, 2023 in Glendale, AZ.
Arizona Cardinals running back Corey Clement (23) during 2023 Cardinals Training Camp at State Farm Stadium on Tuesday, August 1, 2023 in Glendale, AZ.

Corey Clement is used to playing in front of large crowds, upwards of 65,000 people.

But that's in his day job as a running back.

When it comes to producing music, gaining the confidence just to perform at a school talent show was a challenge.

"You've got to go through a crowd, get through the stage fright and then you're like, 'Oh, it's not that bad,'" said Clement, who also goes by the rapper persona "Yeroc." "Anybody can get up there, but it's the performance that you want, and you have to allow yourself to be expressive and not hold back."

Clement grew up in a household full of musicians, including his parents and brother. His father is still a member of an acapella group.

"It's always been embedded in me since childhood," Clement said. "We're all human, so we have different niches to dive into. Music is something that is never going to leave my side."

NBA legend Dwyane Wade once said "there's only a relationship between music and sports because all athletes want to be rappers and all rappers want to be athletes." Clement has long wanted to be both.

"I just love the entertainment side of it," Clement said. "I love bringing energy because music is life to me. The sound gets people in a mood, whether it's for football, work, calm you down, or hype you up. If I can be that person, by all means, I'm having fun with it."

Work remains the priority right now with the Cardinals and Clement in the middle of camp. Running back James Conner will be RB1. It figures to be a battle between Clement -- who had 55 yards rushing and a TD on 15 carries in limited work last season -- and Keaontay Ingram for the second role.

"Each day is really just about focusing on that 'one,'" Clement said. "That one meeting. That one practice. That one lecture from coach. Now I'm just focusing on my technique and the playbook is definitely clicking a lot more."

Offensive coordinator Drew Petzing said both running backs have done a really good job at picking up the scheme and reads. Clement brings experience to the offense with his six previous seasons in the NFL.

"Corey's played a lot of football," Petzing said. "His understanding and feel for the game is really good."

(WARNING: Song with some NSFW lyrics)

There is pressure with the job. For Clement, music is a healthy way to balance life and the sport he loves.

"If not, I'll go insane being one-dimensional," Clement said. "At this point it's more about expressing myself. I don't feel scared to hide it from the public now."

Still, he isn't "overly in the face" of his teammates when it comes to showcasing his talent, although he has brought some of the running backs with him into the studio.

When asked about the experience, Ingram dapped up Clement -- whose locker is next to his -- and said "he's the truth. He's legit with it."

Most players on the Cardinals don't realize they have a rapper in the locker room. "He's just Corey," linebacker Jesse Luketa said, adding that Clement's music is great.

Cornerback Marco Wilson found out that "Yeroc" was Clement through one of his recent music videos.

"I've seen a few of his songs and his rap videos but actually, the video is what got me," Wilson said. "I was like 'Wow, he takes this real serious,' because a lot of people are like 'I rap.' After watching him and his format, he takes it seriously."

Wilson believes more players should take advantage of the offseason to explore their interests.

"(Clement) knows who he is," Wilson said. "A lot of people walking around the world, and they don't know who they are and are always stuck to one thing. Football gives us a blessing to really live life in a different way. But it's good to try other things."

One of the parts of the music industry that Wilson enjoys is the process of making music. The beats, the instruments, the cadence. It's the recipe for making a successful piece.

When Clement walks into the recording booth, he lets his creativity take over.

"I don't write anything down," Clement said. "I freestyle it all. I'll just cut myself in and tell the engineer 'Take that out, let's redo it.' My sessions are pretty fun."

The sessions for now, however, are on hold.

"Nothing is next because it's football right now," Clement said. "There are still songs in the cut, waiting for after the season. I might drop a little here and there while I'm in season because I understand you don't live for long, man. You don't live for the moments you're shy about. Let it be and let it rip."

Running back Corey Clement signs some autographs after a recent training camp practice.
Running back Corey Clement signs some autographs after a recent training camp practice.