Ryan Clark

This Date In Transactions History: Giants Release Ryan Clark

On this date in 2004, the Giants released former undrafted free agent Ryan Clark. The move didn’t make waves at the time, but it proved to be a missed opportunity for the G-Men.

After going undrafted out of LSU in 2002, Clark spent two forgettable seasons with the Giants. The defensive back was relatively productive during his sophomore campaign (21 tackles, one sack, two passes defended in 16 games (four starts)), but he seemingly didn’t do enough to earn a longer look from the organization. On May 27th, 2004, the Giants let go of the young safety.

This ended up being a blessing in disguise for the Steelers, but it’d take several years to translate. After all, Clark initially caught on with the Redskins, who he’d play with for two seasons. Thanks to injuries to Matt Bowen and Andre Lott, Clark got an opportunity to start, and he ended up starting 24 games between 2004 and 2005. However, in a widely-panned moved, Washington ended up moving on from Clark after inking Adam Archuleta to a lucrative deal.

Clark then landed in Pittsburgh, where he’d spend the next eight years of his career. The safety started all but two of his games while he was with the Steelers, and he compiled at least 80 tackles for six straight seasons. Clark started all three postseason games for the Steelers en route to their Super Bowl XLIII victory, and he also helped guide the team to a Super Bowl loss during the 2010 campaign. He even made a Pro Bowl in 2011 after finishing with 100 tackles, one sack, five passed defended, and one interception.

By the time Clark ended up returning to Washington in 2014, he had earned a spot on a couple of the Steelers all-time top-1o lists, including tackles (10th – 448) and passes defended (8th – 44). Still, if the Giants had decided to give the safety a longer look, who knows if Clark would have ever found his way to Pittsburgh.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In Transactions History: Ryan Clark

14 years ago today, a former undrafted free agent’s future was in question. Fast forward to now, and he’s one of the most beloved players in Steelers history.

After going undrafted out of LSU in 2002, safety Ryan Clark spent two forgettable seasons with the Giants. The defensive back was relatively productive during his sophomore campaign (21 tackles, one sack, two passes defended in 16 games (four starts)), but he seemingly didn’t do enough to earn a longer look from the organization. On May 27th, 2004, the Giants let go of the young safety.

This ended up being a blessing in disguise for the Steelers, but it’d take several years to translate. After all, Clark initially caught on with the Redskins, who he’d play with for two seasons. Thanks to injuries to Matt Bowen and Andre Lott, Clark got an opportunity to start, and he ended up starting 24 games between 2004 and 2005. However, in a widely-panned moved, Washington ended up moving on from Clark after inking Adam Archuleta to a lucrative deal.

Clark then landed in Pittsburgh, where he’d spend the next eight years of his career. The safety started all but two of his games while he was with the Steelers, and he compiled at least 80 tackles for six straight seasons. Clark started all three postseason games for the Steelers en route to their Super Bowl XLIII victory, and he also helped guide the team to a Super Bowl loss during the 2010 campaign. He even made a Pro Bowl in 2011 after finishing with 100 tackles, one sack, five passed defended, and one interception.

By the time Clark ended up returning to Washington in 2014, he had earned a spot on a couple of the Steelers all-time top-1o lists, including tackles (10th – 448) and passes defended (8th – 44). Still, if the Giants had decided to give the safety a longer look, who knows if Clark would have ever found his way to Pittsburgh.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ryan Clark To Retire As Steeler

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.

NFC Notes: Melton, Falcons, Clark, McManis

Ndamukong Suh‘s one-game suspension is the bigger story, but the Lions may not be the only team in this weekend’s Wild Card showdown with the Cowboys that’s missing a key defensive tackle. As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com first reported (via Twitter), Cowboys lineman Henry Melton sustained a leg injury that could sideline him for the postseason. Melton’s agent, Jordan Woy, confirmed to Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com (Twitter link) that his client suffered a bone bruise on his knee, and the timeline for his return appears to be a matter of weeks rather than days.

Here’s more from around the NFC on a busy Monday:

  • In addition to requesting permission to speak to Dan Quinn and Adam Gase about their head coaching vacancy, as we’d previously learned, the Falcons have also asked for interviews with Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, reports Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter links). Both coaches have Wild Card games coming up, so they aren’t allowed to interview for head coaching jobs this week.
  • Speaking to reporters today, including Jeff Darlington of NFL.com (Twitter link), Washington head coach Jay Gruden said he’ll recommend to owner Daniel Snyder and GM Bruce Allen that the club should retain defensive coordinator Jim Haslett.
  • Washington‘s Ryan Clark has yet to decide whether he’ll continue his playing career, according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post, who tweets that the veteran safety is expected to make his decision within the next couple days. Dianna Marie Russini of NBC4 believes Clark will call it a career, tweeting that the safety will simply sign the necessary papers rather than making a big announcement.
  • According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter), the Bears made an attempt last week to lock up cornerback Sherrick McManis to a two-year contract extension, but the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement.
  • The Buccaneers will be on the lookout for an offensive coordinator in the coming days and weeks, and head coach Lovie Smith says he wants to “talk to as many people as I possibly can,” according to Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com (Twitter link).
  • Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder, who is eligible for free agency this winter, said today that he’ll start researching potential landing spots later in the week, tweets Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 Twin Cities.

East Notes: Philbin, Clark, Jets, Vick

Count Jets coach Rex Ryan among those who believes that Joe Philbin deserves to stay on board as Dolphins coach. “I’ll tell you what, it’s obviously great. It’s obviously well-deserved,” Ryan said, according to James Walker of ESPN.com. “He’s a helluva football coach. Obviously, Miami made a great decision bringing him back. I can tell you, going against him, that’s a heck of a football team and that’s a really well-coached team.” Dolphins owner Stephen Ross gave Philbin the endorsement for next season after Miami’s close victory over the Vikings. More from the AFC and NFC East..

  • Safety Ryan Clark says that he wants to keep playing beyond this season, according to Tarik El-Bashir of CSNWashington.com (on Twitter). He has yet to have talks with Washington, however.
  • While sources say no decision has been made on GM John Idzik and Ryan, it is clear Jets owner Woody Johnson is seriously considering cleaning house, Brian Costello of the New York Post writes. The Jets are 3-12 heading into their season finale.
  • Jets quarterback Geno Smith says he’s confident that he’ll be starting for Gang Green in 2015, according to Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald (on Twitter). From the outside, it seems likely that the Jets will at least explore other options under center.
  • As we’ve heard earlier, Jets quarterback Michael Vick says that he has “a good, solid two years” left in his career (via Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com on Twitter).

East Notes: Revis, Washington, Jets, Giants

There were times last season in Tampa Bay when Darrelle Revis didn’t necessarily look like one of the league’s best cornerbacks, but the veteran corner has re-established himself this year in New England, according to ESPN.com’s Mike Sando (Insider link), who calls Revis the year’s No. 1 free agent or trade acquisition. The East’s two division leaders get nods in Sando’s piece, with the Patriots being recognized for their signing of Revis and the Eagles lauded for their trade for Darren Sproles, who ranks seventh on the list.

Here’s more from around the NFC and AFC East divisions:

  • Rich Tandler of CSNWashington.com expects quarterback Colt McCoy to return to Washington next season, but notes that McCoy is eligible for free agency, and if he reaches the open market, he’ll likely get offers from other teams after holding his own as a starter this year.
  • 35-year-old Washington safety Ryan Clark is focused on finishing this season strong, and isn’t thinking about his NFL future, writes Liz Clarke of the Washington Post. Still, while Clark stopped short of saying he’ll retire, he indicated that this season could be his last.
  • The Jets brought in several players for tryouts this week, focusing on the defensive line and special teams, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). Wilson reports that the club worked out defensive linemen Ben BassKona Schwenke, and Zach Thompson, punters Kasey Redfern and Jacob Schum, and long snapper Patrick Scales.
  • In addition to working out cornerback Keith Lewis, whose audition was previously reported, Washington also took a look at running back Terrance Cobb and offensive lineman Rishaw Johnson earlier this week, tweets Wilson. Johnson has since signed with the division-rival Giants‘ practice squad.
  • Those Giants worked out several players of their own this week, per Wilson, who provides the list of participants (Twitter link): D.J. Bryant (OLB), Mike Golic Jr. (OL), Dion Lewis (RB), Jordan McCray (OL), and Uani Unga (LB).

East Notes: Wilkerson, Snee, Ertz

Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson will make a “ridiculously low” $1.2MM this season, writes ESPNNewYork’s Rich Cimini: “[Wilkerson] won’t become a Darrelle Revis-type distraction — Wilkerson vowed not to stage a holdout — but the topic is bound to come up in his dealings with the media. He has two years remaining on his deal…The Jets have time (and leverage) on their side, so they won’t do a deal unless it makes sense for them. With more than $20 million in cap room, why not do it now? It would send a positive message, showing the organization is committed to keeping its own. That hasn’t always been the case. See: Revis.”

Here’s some more AFC and NFC East reading:

  • Center Nick Mangold carries the second-highest cap hit on the Jets, and while his play has slipped a bit, he remains invaluable, says Brian Costello in the New York Post.
  • The rookie season of Bills first-round quarterback EJ Manuel was scrutinized by Pro Football Focus’ Steve Palazzolo. The results? Manuel struggled with deep passing, but perhaps more worrisome is that Manual struggled with a clean pocket.
  • The Bills are unlikely to keep two fullbacks, meaning bubble players Frank Summers and Evan Rodriguez will compete for the job. ESPN’s Mike Rodak makes the case for both players, saying Summers “contributed on both offense and special teams and remains the Bills’ best option as a lead blocker in goal line situations,” while Rodriguez “offers more of that ‘triple threat.'”
  • Veteran Chris Snee will be the Giants’ right guard if he’s healthy enough to handle the job, but his elbow injury prevented him from getting through OTAs and minicamp. Accordingly, NJ.com’s Jordan Raanan views Brandon Mosely as the “healthiest and strongest candidate heading into camp.”
  • The Eagles are anticipating a breakout season from second-year tight end Zach Ertz, who produced 36 receptions for 469 yards and four touchdowns in 450 snaps last season.
  • Redskins safety Bacarri Rambo started three games as a rookie last season, but he sounds like a player on the bubble in the eyes of ESPN’s John Keim: “Rambo did such a poor job in this area last year and there’s no way you can be a backup safety and not contribute on special teams. He will not bump Ryan Clark from the starting job so Rambo had better improve on special teams.”

Redskins Sign Ryan Clark

12:04pm: According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter), Clark’s deal is actually a minimum salary benefit contract, including a $955K base salary ($80K guaranteed) and a $65K signing bonus. That still works out to $145K in guaranteed money for Clark, but ensures that Washington’s cap hit is only $635K.

THURSDAY, 9:51am: Clark’s one-year contract is worth $1MM, which includes a $145K signing bonus, tweets Mike Jones of the Washington Post. It’s the same deal Brandon Meriweather received from the team last month.

WEDNESDAY, 9:10am: The Redskins have officially announced the signing of Clark, who inked his deal today (Twitter link).

MONDAY, 5:12pm: The Redskins have agreed to terms with safety Ryan Clark, tweets Chris Russell of ESPN Radio 980 in Washington D.C.. Joel Turner, the agent for the 12-year veteran, offered “no comment” in regards to the report, tweets Zac Boyer of the Washington Times.

The team was actively looking for a safety, even after re-signing one of last year’s starters, Brandon Meriweather. Clark met with the Redskins a couple of weeks ago, but the player left Washington without a deal. The Washington Post’s Mike Jones reported that the player was asking for more money than the team was willing to spend.

The 34-year-old was drafted all the way back in 2002 by the Giants, where he spent two seasons. Clark played for the Redskins for the next two years before joining the Steelers in 2006. Over the next eight seasons, Clark became one of Pittsburgh’s most reliable defensive players, appearing in 111 of a possible 128 games.

Clark had a career-high 104 tackles to go along with two interceptions in 2013. In Steelers history, Clark ranks seventh in passes defended and tenth in tackles.

As DeSean Jackson visits the Redskins this evening, John Keim of ESPN.com mentions (via Twitter) that the team would want to bolster the locker room with leadership, which Clark certainly provides.

NFC East Notes: Manning, Eagles, Doughty

The latest from the NFC East:

  • Recently-released safety Danieal Manning grew up in the Dallas area, and has always fantasized about playing for the Cowboys, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
  • Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com lists safety, defensive end, interior offensive line, and receiver as areas where the Cowboys could look to add depth through free agency. Archer lists Thomas DeCoud, Robert Ayers, Kyle Cook, and Nate Burleson as players who could potentially help at those respective positions. The Cowboys have about $6.4MM in cap space with which to work.
  • In separate pieces, Zach Berman of Philly.com and Sheil Kapadia of PhillyMag.com make much the same point: the Eagles need to find a way to continue to beat man coverage following the departure of DeSean Jackson. Opposing defenses primarily employed man coverage because it was the simplest to way to combat the Eagles fast-paced offensive attack. Jeremy Maclin will now become the focal point in the receiving game, but the team is expected to add a receiver from what is regarded as a loaded wideout class. Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin, at 6’4″ and 240 pounds, is the type of physical receiver who could take on opposing defensive backs.
  • NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock disputes the notion that the Eagles need a receiver, and thinks they should draft their highest-rated defensive player left on the board (via Bryan Fischer of NFL.com).
  • The “door is not closed” between safety Reed Doughty and the Redskins, but he is not a priority in Washington, tweets Tarik El-Bashir of CSNWashington, also noting that several other teams have inquired on Doughty.
  • New Redskins safety Ryan Clark will act as a mentor to young defensive backs Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo, and try to fill the leadership void left by the retiring London Fletcher, writes John Keim of ESPN.com. But Clark was signed due to his ability, as well, as Keim notes (in a nice turn of phrase highlighting the Redskins ineptitude on defense last season): “[W]hile Pittsburgh let [Clark] walk because he’d lost a step, the Redskins have been seeking a safety who had any steps to begin with. They weren’t losing steps; they never had any.”

NFC Notes: Clark, Seahawks, Culliver

Could Ryan Clark be the newest member of the “Legion of Boom”? The former Steelers safety recently visited the Seahawks, a league source told National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson, then tweeted how impressed he was with the city and the organization. Clark, who played the last eight of 12 seasons with the Steelers, has also received interest from the Redskins, Ravens and Jets. Seattle Times beat writer Bob Condotta chimed in on the report, saying that the Seahawks need a backup free safety with Chris Maragos departing for the Eagles. Jeron Johnson, who signed a second-round tender earlier this offseason, is better suited at strong safety, Condotta notes.

Other news and notes from the NFC this Saturday morning…

  • 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver is out of jail following his arrest last night for felony hit-and-run and weapons possession, KTVU.com reports. The team released a subsequent statement indicating its awareness of the incident: “The 49ers organization is aware of the recent matter involving Chris Culliver. We will remain in contact with Chris and the local authorities as we continue to gather the facts regarding this situation. As this is an ongoing legal matter, we will reserve further comment at this time.” Culliver was last in hot water during the run up to Super Bowl XLVII in February 2013, when he said he wouldn’t welcome a gay player in the locker room.
  • Buccaneers GM Jason Licht and coach Lovie Smith weighed in on recently released receiver DeSean Jackson, writes Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “He’d have to be the right fit on and off the field,” Licht said. “I don’t want to dismiss him right away but we’re looking at a bunch of other players, too.” Smith was more complimentary of the three-time Pro Bowler, calling him a great football player and saying the team will look at everyone they think can help them win.
  • Further down in Stroud’s piece, Smith says the team “might move up” from the No. 7 pick, and that he and Licht have talked about that possibility, as well as the possibility of moving back.