NFL safety Ryan Clark announces retirement on Wednesday; likely headed to work for ESPN.
Clark has been a guest analyst for ESPN for the past few years during the offseason. As such he is expected to join the network full-time as an analyst now that he has decided to hang up his shoulder pads and helmet.
Clark, a Marrero, Louisiana native, played his college ball at LSU. He was then undrafted in 2002.
He played in six games as a rookie with the New York Giants, then played in all 16 with four starts in his second year—playing mostly in a sub-package role.
At age 25, Clark moved onto the Washington Redskins playing in 28 of 32 games—starting 24 of them at strong safety over the next two seasons in 2004 and 2005.
He then moved onto the Pittsburgh Steelers as a free agent in 2006, where he would make his greatest impact as an NFL safety. He started alongside potential Hall of Fame safety Troy Polamula to give the Steelers one of the most dynamic and fearful safety tandems in the NFL.
Playing in Dick LeBeau’s vaunted 3-4 attacking defense, Clark recorded 12 of his 16 career interceptions in those eight seasons. He was part of the Steelers’ sixth Super Bowl championship team in 2009 under Mike Tomlin.
Clark never scored a touchdown in the NFL, but was a key part of one of the most physically intimidating defenses the NFL has seen in this brief century. He made the AFC Pro Bowl team in 2011, and in 2006 had an incredible three recovered fumbles.
Clark may have gained most acclaim, though, because of a sickle cell disease which prevented him from playing in Pittsburgh’s 2011 playoff loss at Denver—the game which Tim Tebow led the Broncos to the upset victory in overtime on a quick toss to Demaryius Thomas who went 80 yards for a touchdown.
That disease was first discovered after a previous game in Denver, in which Clark did participate. He was rushed to a local Denver hospital and did not immediately make the trip back to Pittsburgh after the game.
The 5’11” safety was not able to return to action the rest of the 2007 season, but returned with full health in 2008.
Finally, Clark finished his career in Washington, D.C. this past season. Though he retires as a Redskin, he will be remembered as a player for his Steelers days.
More from FanSided
- Joe Burrow owes Justin Herbert a thank you note after new contract
- Chiefs gamble at wide receiver could already be biting them back
- Braves-Red Sox start time: Braves rain delay in Boston on July 25
- Yankees: Aaron Boone gives optimistic return date for Aaron Judge
- MLB Rumors: Yankees-Phillies trade showdown, Mariners swoop, India goes to Seattle