Steelers.com brings you the Ask the Steelers feature. Fans submitted the questions that were asked. Please understand that we receive an incredible number of questions for each player, with many of the questions being similar, and not all of the questions can be answered. We selected as many as possible, and took your questions to the current subject to get your answers.
Safety Ryan ClarkEd Powers, West Virginia: What is it like to play alongside Troy Polamalu, one of the best safeties ever to play the game?
Clark: It's fun. It's enjoyable. It's fun to watch. Sometimes I find myself watching to see what he is going to do, but most of the time I find myself watching because I don't know what he is going to do and I have to figure it out to be in the right place. It keeps you on your toes, keeps you competing. It pushes you. Also, when you play with someone who is your friend, it's exciting to see them excel.
Lynn Banner, Shaker Heights, Ohio: Does having a close friendship with Troy off the field benefit both of you on the field?
Clark: I think in a lot of ways it does. A lot of things we do are unspoken and happen organically for us. On the other side we can tell each other things other people can't. If I see him doing something wrong, I can tell him and vice-versa. We don't get upset about it.
Mike Rosenthal, Phoenix, Arizona: As NFL offenses open up, do you see the physical prototype for NFL linebackers changing, with a move towards some quick-footed, run to the ball types who can be equally effective in coverage? In other words, is the FS Ryan Clark who can cover and lay licks, something we might see at the inside linebacker positions of the future, as well?
Clark: Hopefully they will never get this small. I couldn't see myself playing inside linebacker. I think a more accurate description would be a move to the Lawrence Timmons of the world. A guy who can run well downhill, sideline to sideline, can cover tight ends and running backs and is physical enough to take the beating and pounding to take on pulling guards and tackles. The game is never going to change enough to where you have a guy who can't be physical play that position, a guy who can't take the pounding play in and play out. I don't think we will ever see another Levon Kirkland, a guy who is defensive lineman size playing linebacker.
Brandon Maurice Williams, San Francisco, California: Describe what your conversations are like with rookies and young defensive back players about adapting to the Steelers philosophy - what are some of the key points in helping them successfully mature with the organization?
Clark: I don't recall ever having one of those conversations. It's more about example. It's about work, coming in to practice every day and working hard, staying after meetings. Last year Troy and I took turns after the meetings staying and working with the young guys. It's about team, not just about the level of your own play but the level of young guys maturing. Hopefully we don't have to tell guys, they can see it. Guys on this team don't worry about the next guy taking our position, we think about the next guy who is going to take us to the next level.
Paul Lyons, Boise, Idaho: With the way you play the game, how is your body holding up?
Clark: It's holding up well. I started training in Arizona about six years ago and it's been important to my progression. I have gotten bigger, stronger and faster every year. I think that is why you see my play improve. A lot of guys come into the league now all muscled up and fast. I was a kid coming into the league at 190 pounds and slim and I let my body develop and because of that I am in better shape than I have been.
Peter Morris, Arizona: Who is the toughest wide receiver you have ever had to play against?
Clark: That is why we have Ike Taylor, so I don't have to cover receivers. A guy who is tough to play against is Andre Johnson, he is a guy you can cover but is strong enough to get to the ball and good after the catch, hard to tackle. Randy Moss was difficult. I was always afraid they were going to throw it up and he would catch it over my head.
Garrett Slingerland, Ventura, California: What was it like inside the locker room gearing up the night of Super Bowl XLIII, what was going through your mind?
Clark: Don't get beat for the game winning touchdown. And we still almost did.
Patricia Simpson: What do you love most about playing for the Steelers?
Clark: It's the fans. To know the fans are knowledgeable and you have the support of the city and the whole Steelers Nation. If you don't know about it, and aren't a part of it, you can't understand Steelers Nation.