Veteran safety Ryan Clark announced his retirement from the NFL today on ESPN NFL Live, per Scott Brown of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Although Clark spent the 2014 season in Washington, he will retire as a Steeler, having played the majority of his 13-year career in Pittsburgh. He’ll also join ESPN as an analyst, tweets Mike Jones of the Washington Post.
Clark, 35, went undrafted out of LSU, but caught on with the Giants back in 2002, and then spent time with Washington as well before finding a more permanent home in Pittsburgh. Clark was a cornerstone member of the Steelers’ defense from 2006 to 2013, starting at safety alongside Troy Polamalu. While Clark was perhaps overshadowed in the Steelers’ secondary by Polamalu, he earned a Pro Bowl berth of his own in 2011, and finished his stint in Pittsburgh with three consecutive seasons of 100+ tackles.
For his career, Clark played 177 games (152 starts), racking up 928 total tackles, 55 passes defended, and 16 interceptions. He was also a member of the 2008 Steelers team that won the Super Bowl over Kurt Warner and the Cardinals.
The last update we heard on Clark came at the end of the regular season, when it sounded as if a decision from the veteran safety on his future was imminent. Dianna Marie Russini of NBC4 suggested at the time that the longtime Steeler may just sign the necessary retirement papers rather than making a big announcement, but presumably the fact that he’s joining ESPN required him to publicly confirm his decision.