Ryan Clark to Retire as a Pittsburgh Steeler


Safety Ryan Clark is making it official. After cheating on his NFL career the past few years with his mistress, ESPN, he’s making it official and retiring from the game to put on a suit full time. Fittingly, Clark made the announcement on Wednesday’s ESPN’s “NFL Live.” Clark intends to sign a one-day contract and officially retire as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Clark played 13 seasons in the NFL and started at free safety for the Steelers from 2006 to 2013. He made his NFL debut in 2002 as an undrafted rookie for the New York Giants. From there he spent two years with the Washington Redskins before being picked up by the Steelers as a free agent.

I get an opportunity to retire as a Steeler, which is very important to me.

Ryan Clark became a staple on the Steelers defense and served as the yin to Troy Polamalu’s yang in the secondary for many years. The two hard-hitting safeties became close friends off of the field and were huge contributors to the 2008 team that won Pittsburgh a sixth Super Bowl title.

Clark was thankful to be given the opportunity to retire as a member of the Steelers when he made the announcement.

"“I get an opportunity to retire as a Steeler, which is very important to me. To be able to play with some of the greats in Troy Polamalu, James Harrison, James Farrior, the opportunity to play with Sean Taylor and to do things I never dreamed of…when I signed at LSU, I was just there to get an education. To have an opportunity to win a Super Bowl, play in another and play in a Pro Bowl, it’s been amazing.” – Ryan Clark"

Clark will forever be known in Steelers lore for his famous hit on the Ravens’ running back Willis McGahee in the 2008 AFC Championship game. In the Steelers’ 23-14 win, Clark hit McGahee so hard it caused a fumble the Steelers recovered and ended the Ravens’ chances at a comeback.

Unfortunately, he’ll also be known for blowing coverage on plays like Terrelle Pryor’s 93-yard run in the Steelers’ 18-21 loss to Oakland when Clark bit on a fake and allowed Pryor to run free into the endzone. The Steelers made no attempt to re-sign Clark after the 2013 season and he signed with the Redskins for his second stint.

While I wasn’t a fan of Clark toeing the line between football “analyst” and player and think that he sold out to a degree for the opportunity he got at ESPN, I’ll remember him fondly overall as a member of one of the greatest Steelers defenses in history. The 2008 Steelers defense had astronomical numbers and is rarely mentioned as one of the all-time greats but Clark was definitely a big contributor to that team.

Clark is also known for his charity work with the formation of Ryan Clark’s Cure League to raise awareness about the sickle cell trait he suffers from himself. Best of luck to Ryan Clark with his official full-time career at ESPN, I hope he stays true to himself and delivers insightful and meaningful analysis and doesn’t turn into one of those idiots with scorching “hot takes” just to get attention.

Once a Steeler, always a Steeler.

What are your thoughts about Ryan Clark retiring as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers?

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