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Clark Hopes to Do More Than Watch at FedEx

Former Redskins safety Ryan Clark, a young man whose character and tenacity won over teammates here, was greatly looking forward to facing his old teammates Monday night, though a shoulder injury very well could prevent him from doing so. Clark, one of the Redskins who was closest to safety Sean Taylor, has been a starter with Pittsburgh since signing there as a free agent in 2006, but may have to watch from the sidelines when the teams play Monday.

"I can't make the decision to play or not to play, because I'm going to say I can play no matter what, because of the game and what it means to me," Clark said. "So they've got to do what they feel is medically responsible. It will be sad not to play, and if I do have to miss a game it would only be this one - they said I'd definitely be ready for the Colts. If I don't play there must be a reason that God didn't want me to play.

"It would be exciting to play them. I haven't been back at FedEx in a while, and it would be awesome see Sean's name in the stadium. It will mean a great deal, and either way I'll be at the game. But it would be a lot better to play."

Clark said he will learn his final playing status by Saturday afternoon and will make the trip here regardless, with his father traveling up from Louisiana for the game. He is very fond of many of his former teammates, and stays in regular contact with linebacker Marcus Washington. Clark's family remains close to Sean Taylor's girlfriend, Jackie, who is the mother of his little girl.

Clark became very close to Taylor during their time together in the 2004 and 2005 seasons, turbulent years in Taylor's life, before the birth of his daughter and before he made significant changes in his life and lifestyle. Redskins players and coaches pointed to Clark as a calming and steadying influence on Taylor, and Taylor would often hang out at Ryan's house, eating dinner, playing his the children.

Taylor's murder shocked and saddened the football world, and haunts Clark to this day. "Honestly, not a day goes by without me thinking of Sean," he said. Clark tries to honor him with his physical play, in Taylor's image, and incurred a $5,000 fine from the NFL this week for wearing Taylor's old uniform number (No. 21) on the eye black he wore Sunday (one of myriad inane rules governing what can and cannot be worn on game day).

"I look at as $2,500 for each eye, but I guess I won't be doing that anymore," he said, "because I'll end up divorced if I keep getting fined."

Clark has not chatted with Taylor's father, Pedro, since spending time with him in Miami following Taylor's funeral, but Clark's wife is in regular contact with Taylor's girlfriend. "They're always texting back and forth, doing that women thing that we aren't privy to," he said. Clark's wife also took what will become an annual trip with Jackie and other friends this year, going to Puerto Rico.

"They all get to get caught up, talk about old times and see what's going on in each other's lives," Clark said. .

Clark did get to travel a bit to see his pal, Washington, this offseason, though, attending Marcus's father's birthday party and the Clarks also took a family vacation with him. Most of Clark's closest friends on the Redskins - Robert Royal, Antonio Pierce and others - are no longer with the team. "One by one they started to get us out of there," Clark joked. "I guess maybe they had something against our crew."

He still watches the Redskins whenever they are on television in Pittsburgh and keeps an eye on them, still friendly with guys like Carlos Rogers and Cornelius Griffin, even if they don't have regular contact. He pays close attention to young safety LaRon Landry as well, enjoying how he plays (Landry is also Clark's wife's cousin).

"It's not like I don't like them, or we're not cool, but it's just that everybody's not really close friends on a team of 53 men, to where you are going to stay in touch and talk all the time after someone leaves," Clark said.

Clark feels very good about the Steelers' top-ranked defense, and hopes to be part of a long season.

"Without a question I would say we're the best defense in the NFL, that's the way I feel," Clark said. "We're not giving up a lot of deep balls, and it's hard to run on us with the great front we have. Everything is going good, and this week will be a good test, because that's a very consistent offense, and they'll have to earn their yards. Whether I play or not we've got 11 guys out there who can get the job done."

Clark has studied film of the Redskins' offense under Jim Zorn and has drawn the same conclusions many of us have - this looks a whole lot like the 2005 Joe Gibbs Redskins (power outside running game) and not so much like a traditional West Coast team.

"You think about when they were really good in Seattle with Jim Zorn there, Shaun Alexander rushed for 1,800 yards," Clark said. "They're better when they get to run the ball, and I think the receivers they have are different. You look at a lot of West Coast offenses - like Philly, Tampa Bay - and it's not what you would call a great receiving corps. What you're seeing now with Washington is with good receivers and a good tight end and a running back that can really run the ball, you can go for that big play more than what you would think a lot of West Coast teams do."

The footwork and dropbacks of Jason Campbell aren't what you see out of prototypical West Coast schemes. "He's not a traditional West Coast QB, either," Clark said. "Jason is a long-ball guy who moves well in the pocket and has that long form. The coach has tweaked the offense to what best suits your players, and having a true West Coast game is not as beneficial to them."

Regardless of the outcome, and who plays, Clark expects a ruggedly physical ballgame Monday night. Both teams want to run the ball and play violent defense, and the Steelers are eager to knock off an NFC East foe after a tough loss to the Giants last week.

"On defense, we want every game to be physical," Clark said. "Going against the Giants last week, one of the biggest topics in the defensive room amongst the players, we all talked about who'd be first one to try to cut [massive running back] Brandon Jacobs, and no one wanted to do it. [Linebacker James] Farrior was like, 'I'm going to hit him in the chin.' And I was like, 'I'm not cutting him either. He's going to have to run me over.'

"When you have that mentality as a defense people know you're coming and they know you're going to hit them, they play a little different. This game is going to be extremely difficult with the two fronts, because the Redskins' O line is very physical, and they play extremely well."

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 31, 2008; 3:13 PM ET
 
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Comments

bulletin board material????

Posted by: chrislarry | October 31, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Why would we give JC big $$ when we've got Colt waiting behind him?

Posted by: p1funk | October 31, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

good stuff

Posted by: TheTruth11 | October 31, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

"Clark has studied film of the Redskins' offense under Jim Zorn and has drawn the same conclusions many of us have - this looks a whole lot like the 2005 Joe Gibbs Redskins (power outside running game) and not so much like a traditional West Coast team."

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!!! Why is it that every other day someone needs to comment on how the Skins look like they are running Gibbs' power running game.

ZORN SAID AT THE START OF THE SEASON HE WAS KEEPING THE SAME RUNNING GAME INTACT!!! THIS IS NOT NEWS AND IT IS NOT INSIGHTFUL!!! STOP REPORTING IT AS IF IT IS!!!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/01/AR2008050103761.html

http://www.hogshaven.com/2008/5/14/509414/coach-zorn-has-not-changed

Posted by: p1funk | October 31, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I hope P1funk is being sarcastic. To paraphraze Rummy, when you have the option of going with a known known or a known unknown than you take the known known. and hope to learn the unknown.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 31, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"Clark has studied film of the Redskins' offense under Jim Zorn and has drawn the same conclusions many of us have - this looks a whole lot like the 2005 Joe Gibbs Redskins (power outside running game) and not so much like a traditional West Coast team."

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!!! Why is it that every other day someone needs to comment on how the Skins look like they are running Gibbs' power running game.

ZORN SAID AT THE START OF THE SEASON HE WAS KEEPING THE SAME RUNNING GAME INTACT!!! THIS IS NOT NEWS AND IT IS NOT INSIGHTFUL!!! STOP REPORTING IT AS IF IT IS!!!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/01/AR2008050103761.html

http://www.hogshaven.com/2008/5/14/509414/coach-zorn-has-not-changed

Posted by: p1funk | October 31, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

There must be an ex-Redskin on every team we play. I like this, can we make it a regular feature, interview the former Redskin?

Posted by: ThisGuy | October 31, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

There must be an ex-Redskin on every team we play. I like this, can we make it a regular feature, interview the former Redskin?

Posted by: ThisGuy | October 31, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

lets see from the remaining scheduel off top of my head.
Pitt-Clark
NYG-Peirce
Cinci-Marshall

Thats actually it.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 31, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

There must be an ex-Redskin on every team we play. I like this, can we make it a regular feature, interview the former Redskin?

Posted by: ThisGuy | October 31, 2008 4:01 PM |

Especially Brad Johnson when we play Dallas. He has lots of fond memories of his days here.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | October 31, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

We wouldn't give Ryan Clark a meager raise but we went out and signed Adam(slow azz)Archuleta highest paid punt protector in the history of the NFL to a 10 million dollar contract oh yeah how did that work out for us,way to go Vinny!!

Posted by: dargregmag | October 31, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

We wouldn't give Ryan Clark a meager raise but we went out and signed Adam(slow azz)Archuleta highest paid punt protector in the history of the NFL to a 10 million dollar contract oh yeah how did that work out for us,way to go Vinny!!

Posted by: dargregmag | October 31, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

There must be an ex-Redskin on every team we play. I like this, can we make it a regular feature, interview the former Redskin?

Posted by: ThisGuy | October 31, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

lets see from the remaining scheduel off top of my head.
Pitt-Clark
NYG-Peirce
Cinci-Marshall

Thats actually it.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 31, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

WOOF WOOF WOOF

Posted by: TheTruth11 | October 31, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

There must be an ex-Redskin on every team we play. I like this, can we make it a regular feature, interview the former Redskin?

Posted by: ThisGuy | October 31, 2008 4:01 PM |

Especially Brad Johnson when we play Dallas. He has lots of fond memories of his days here.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | October 31, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Waiting 'til Monday night for this game is gonna suuuuuuuckk...

Posted by: NateinthePDX | October 31, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I was just trying to think of Gibbs era skins why I did not ad Brad.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 31, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Waiting 'til Monday night for this game is gonna suuuuuuuckk...

Posted by: NateinthePDX | October 31, 2008 4:16 PM |

It is. But think about the next wait -- through the bye week for Dallas. Oh well, we've still got our little support group here on RI to help each other through the Long Dark Night.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | October 31, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

"Waiting 'til Monday night for this game is gonna suuuuuuuckk...

Posted by: NateinthePDX | October 31, 2008 4:16 PM "

seriously, please cheer for Georgia tomorrow

Posted by: TheTruth11 | October 31, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

!!! At Midnight Monday we can start the chanting for 2 weeks. the chant of who we want.
BUT DO NOT SAY IT TILL THE STEELERS GAME IS WON, FOR THAT MAY BE OF A CURSE!!!!

Posted by: alex35332 | October 31, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

!!! At Midnight Monday we can start the chanting for 2 weeks. the chant of who we want.
BUT DO NOT SAY IT TILL THE STEELERS GAME IS WON, FOR THAT MAY BE OF A CURSE!!!!

Posted by: alex35332 | October 31, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

STOP THE PRESSES!!
STOP THE PRESSES!!

Now that I have you attention, JLaC FAILED to include KEY FACTS, SUCH AS:

The Greenbay Packers have not YET reach the salary floor for Cap Year 2009. They are 4 MILLION UNDER THE FLOOR, so THEY HAD TO USE UP THE CAP SPACE MONDAY OR BE IN VIOLATION OF THE SALARY CAP.

I REPEAT THEY WERE FORCED TO SPEND 4 MILLION THIS YEAR ON PLAYERS CONTRACTS OR BE IN VIOLATION OF THE CAP BY THIS MONDAY.

Now, back to your regalurly scheduled programming.....

Posted by: 4thFloor | October 31, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

seriously, please cheer for Georgia tomorrow

Posted by: TheTruth11 | October 31, 2008 4:22 PM

Come on, truth, you learned nothing? Up here we cheer for Georgia Tech and whoever's playing Georgia. That's on Saturdays.

On Sundays (and the odd Monday) we cheer for Washington and whoever's playing Dallas. Although this Sunday we're conflicted.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | October 31, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Hey Truth,

Go Gators!

Posted by: noonefromtampa | October 31, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

STOP THE PRESSES!!
STOP THE PRESSES!!

Now that I have you attention, JLaC FAILED to include KEY FACTS, SUCH AS:

The Greenbay Packers have not YET reach the salary floor for Cap Year 2009. They are 4 MILLION UNDER THE FLOOR, so THEY HAD TO USE UP THE CAP SPACE MONDAY OR BE IN VIOLATION OF THE SALARY CAP.

I REPEAT THEY WERE FORCED TO SPEND 4 MILLION THIS YEAR ON PLAYERS CONTRACTS OR BE IN VIOLATION OF THE CAP BY THIS MONDAY.

Now, back to your regalurly scheduled programming.....

Posted by: 4thFloor | October 31, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

seriously, please cheer for Georgia tomorrow

Posted by: TheTruth11 | October 31, 2008 4:22 PM

Come on, truth, you learned nothing? Up here we cheer for Georgia Tech and whoever's playing Georgia. That's on Saturdays.

On Sundays (and the odd Monday) we cheer for Washington and whoever's playing Dallas. Although this Sunday we're conflicted.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | October 31, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Clark is a class act. It's nice to hear about the personal interactions among the players in this league.

Good to know there is a kinder gentler side to this league.

Now, having said that, if Clark plays, good luck. May the Redskins teabag them with a sound NFC East ballin.

Hail!

Posted by: _Stumped_1 | October 31, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Truth, you must have missed this "cheer" for Georgia earlier...

http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa235/tbear_12/n12804726308153765569js1.jpg

Posted by: 4-12 | October 31, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I hope the Johnson plays after the bye... we owe him an ass planting. But, its not really time to think about that right now.

I'm starting to get that feeling I had before the Doug Williams/Timmy Smith super bowl.... Quietly fired up and antsy KNOWING the Redskins could kick ass.

I really think the passing game is going to light up the Steelers D. I see big games from ARE, Thomas, Davis, Cooley.

Posted by: SkinsfaninKaneohe | October 31, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I hope the Johnson plays after the bye... we owe him an ass planting. But, its not really time to think about that right now.

I'm starting to get that feeling I had before the Doug Williams/Timmy Smith super bowl.... Quietly fired up and antsy KNOWING the Redskins could kick ass.

I really think the passing game is going to light up the Steelers D. I see big games from ARE, Thomas, Davis, Cooley.

Posted by: SkinsfaninKaneohe | October 31, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Especially Brad Johnson when we play Dallas. He has lots of fond memories of his days here.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | October 31, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

hasn't B.Johnson burned us on a semi-frequent occasion since he's left via Tampa? I wonder if he's still got the fire.

college ball sucks, but my Golden Gophs are doing pretty well this year!

Posted by: MNSkinsFan | October 31, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I am hearing way too much about the bye week from way too many players. I sure hope they aren't in too big a hurry to get to this little vacation.

They deserve the time off, but they shouldn't be talking about it like this, not good to be looking ahead.

Posted by: craig2 | October 31, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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