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mesaSteeler
09-01-2009, 05:24 PM
Steelers: Clark should be next top priority when it comes to extension
September 1, 4:50 PMPittsburgh Sports Examiner
Matt Pawlikowski
http://www.examiner.com/x-2703-Pittsburgh-Sports-Examiner~y2009m9d1-Steelers-Clark-should-be-next-top-freeagent-priority

PITTSBURGH - When it comes to the remaining free-agents on the Steelers and there are quite a few big names from the Super Bowl roster that other teams will loathe, safety Ryan Clark should be a priority.

Not Casey Hampton not Willie Parker or any of the other players who are up for an extension.

The reason is simple. His play on the field and his presence in the lockeroom. AP FILE PHOTO/Ryan Clark

Clark played in 14 games last year and recorded 87 tackles along with one interception in 14 starts. More important was the fact that after missing half of the 2007 season when he had his spleen removed , the Steelers defense seemed to struggle. With him back in the lineup last year, he played a key role in making Pittsburgh's secondary one of the best in the league.

But its also his clubhouse presence. Clark is a team player, and puts the 'e' in we.

" I think this is the best group I have ever been around and its awesome here," Clark said. " It's about that momentum you build when one guy makes a big play. If you are genuinely happy when another guy makes a play, you are going to feed off them. When you love your teammates the way we do, when someone makes a play, you are actually excited and you turn around and make a big play."

Clark's genuineness was evident after Monday's practice upon finding out about Brett Keisel's new deal. Instead of firing off words where it should have been him, he talked about how happy he was for his teammate.

"I saw Keis today, and told him congratulations because he definitely deserves it," Clark said. " He's a big cog on our defense and a great player for us."

He also let his feelings be known that he wants to remain a Steeler and while he is in the last year of his contract, that he has a job to do and that is to help out Troy Polamalu and the rest of his teammates win football games.

" In this situation I hold no cards, really my job as a husband and father is to provide for my family and this is how I do it," Clark said. "So I'm not going to pitch a fit or not show up. I love the guys I play with I love this organization but more importantly I have a responsibility and my responsibility is to take care of those people I am responsible for, and that is what I am going to do. I'm going to come to work every day and enjoy it, and there still is no better defense to play for an there is no better team to play for than the Pittsburgh."

Over the years there are those who have called the Steelers organization cheap when it comes to signing its own free-agents. I call them smart. While it is hard to keep a Super Bowl team together, quietly as money has become available, the team has been locking up its top players to long term deals.

James Harrison was the first, wide receiver Hines Ward, guard Chris Kemoeatu, tackle Max Starks, guard Trai Essex, tight end Heath Miller, and linebacker/Special teams ace Keyaron Fox. On Monday, it was Brett Keisel's turn.

All are key cogs.

Yet while the remaining players entering their final year are also great players, a guy like Willie Parker who has been a Pro bowler may be expendable. The team already has put together a nice collection of running backs, including Mewelde Moore, who did a great job in Parker's absence last year.

Also, if Rashard Mendenhall continues to improve and Michael Redman makes the team as an undrafted free-agent, Parker may be one of the guys not tendered a contract until after he explores his options.

"The organization is going to do what is best for them from a business standpoint, and I think they are trying to do the best they can in keeping the corp together." Clark said.

Still, of the potential free-agent lot, which includes Willie Colon, Jeff Reed, Casey Hampton and Clark, Hampton seems to be the odd man out and the reason is simple.

Ziggy Hood, the Steeler first pick in the 2009 draft.

Couple that with the fact Hampton has already made it clear if he was not signed prior to the season, he would explore his options at the end of the year.

"If I play the season out, I'm going to go out and see what is out there," Hampton said a few weeks ago during training camp. "That is a definite, so we'll see what happens with that. My main focus though is going out there and finishing the way we did last year."

None of the other players up for extensions have expressed this thought. While no one knows what will happen with the Collective bargaining act next year, Hampton could still be back with the team if they choose to utilize the franchise tag on him.

Still it doesn't matter.

Again, all the remaining players are top caliber talent, but Clark has earned his dues and should be priority one.

"Do you feel you deserve to be re-signed, yes I do," Clark said. " I wouldn't sit here and say not being signed is something I don't deserve because I feel like I should be here and be a part of this organization for a long time. But on the other hand its not my decision, they have chosen to go other ways in certain situations and you live with that and are happy for the other guys. It's not like Heath Miller and Brett Keisel aren't great football players, because they are and god bless them. Eventually my blessing will come."

wootawnee
09-01-2009, 06:45 PM
" I think this is the best group I have ever been around and its awesome here," Clark said. " It's about that momentum you build when one guy makes a big play. If you are genuinely happy when another guy makes a play, you are going to feed off them. When you love your teammates the way we do, when someone makes a play, you are actually excited and you turn around and make a big play."



This is why Anquan Boldin is not a team guy.......He makes a big play and Larry Fitzgerald runs up all excited to congradulate him and he kinda turns away a little bitter.......I saw it in the superbowl when Boldin made that one long catch......

This is why team players are better than just talent........

steeltheone
09-01-2009, 06:49 PM
Big fan of Clarks..Not real crazy about signing all these 30 some players...

stillers4me
09-01-2009, 07:25 PM
Ying/Yang...Troy/Clark....same diff.

GridironWarrior
09-01-2009, 09:06 PM
Clark should have got his deal before Kiesel. D never misses a beat when Kiesel is out. I bet he got a deal cause he and Ben are like best buds.

steelax04
09-01-2009, 09:40 PM
Clark should have got his deal before Kiesel. D never misses a beat when Kiesel is out. I bet he got a deal cause he and Ben are like best buds.

I didn't know Ben was GM of the Steelers... when did that happen? :noidea:

SunshineMan21
09-01-2009, 11:02 PM
I'm a big Clark fan, and we don't have a clear replacement--that said, while he's important we really can't afford to break the bank. You can only sign so many guys on the wrong side of 30 to long-term deals.

I think at this point FWP will probably be gone, we'll franchise Hampton and resign Clark and Reed, but it's possible that

A. Colbert thinks we have a replacement for Clark (Mundy, Deshea?)

or

B. Ziggy will play NT.

I don't really think either of those is the case, but Colbert has been pretty aggressive about retaining key guys recently. McFadden is the only guy I can think of who we could have feasibly kept, as I don't think anyone really believes we should have resigned Nate.

wootawnee
09-02-2009, 01:00 PM
Sounds to me that Clark and his family really found there home and are stoked about Pittsburgh........We gotta find a way to work it out, because we could not ask for or find more than what he attributes to the team.......Plus I feel he is one of the true Steelers on the team........To the bone......How many players have to the gall to comeback from what has been through to have the most epic season of his life to date.......Not many....Only the true champions........

Nadroj 20
09-02-2009, 01:02 PM
Id be willing to re sign one of the hardest hitters in the league

Hines0wnz
09-02-2009, 02:19 PM
Ryan Clark always impresses me. He should get re-signed.

Preacher
09-02-2009, 03:29 PM
Come on front office... Get 'R done!

We have 1 day left! nothing like a nice little last minute signing or two to send us into the new season!!!

Sharkissle29
09-02-2009, 03:42 PM
Most underrated safety in the game.

I think last year people finally started to notice him after his viscous hits he laid.

We gotta get this guy resigned, the definition of a steeler.

Galax Steeler
09-03-2009, 05:41 AM
I think Clark should definetly be the next to be signed. He is ranked right up there as on of our best defensive players. Clark would be hard to replace right now so hopefully the front office will get it done.