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Old 11-11-2009, 10:17 PM   #1
A Son of Martha

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View From The Press Box

He’s baaaaaack
November 11th, 2009

Ryan Clark is back to his irrepressible, colorful self a week after the question of whether he would play in Denver — coach Mike Tomlin ultimately made the decision to sit him — weighed heavily on the starting free safety’s mind.

Consider his responses to the following questions he was asked today:

On how good strong safety Troy Polamalu is:

“I tell him all the time he could be in those conversations for greatest safety tandems ever if his running mate wasn’t so sorry. I apologize to him every week that I got him in the middle of the pack in safety tandems in the NFL. I told him since he’s so great and I’m kind of OK that makes us very average.”

On Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco’s plan to send mustard to the Steelers defensive backs (the gag has since been nixed by Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis):

“If he sends me mustard that’s like sandwiches for months in my house because we really don’t eat sandwiches in my house. I’m appreciative of gifts because I’m a father and fathers don’t get a lot of gifts. You give a lot of gifts, you don’t get a lot.”

Yep, he’s back.

And Clark is hoping he and the Steelers don’t have to ponder the risk of him playing in Denver — his rare form of sickle-cell trait combined with the low altitude in the Rocky Mountains caused a near catastrophic reaction in a 2007 game — anytime soon.

While relegated to the role of spectator earlier this week, Clark did more than just root on his teammates while he and the Steelers were in Denver.

He worked out before the game and then underwent a battery of tests to see how his body reacted to the lower concentration of oxygen in the Denver air.

Clark said the results from the test were positive. But, the eighth-year veteran added, he doesn’t know how safe it would be to play in Denver if the Steelers have to go back there for a playoff game.

Fortunately for the Clark, that possibility looks remote.

The Steelers’ 28-10 win over the Broncos last Monday night gives them a decided edge if tiebreakers factor into home-field advantage. Also, the Steelers and Broncos appear to be headed in opposite directions even though both are 6-2 at the midway point of the season.

“I talked to (Denver coach Josh) McDaniels before the game and he said ‘Hopefully, we’ll play well enough so we can do this again,’ ” Clark said. ”If we meet again, I just hope it’s in Pittsburgh. That’s my only wish.”
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