ASK THE STEELERS – RYAN CLARK
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.
From Scott Lessa in Cleveland, Ohio: What was it like to be sidelined with your medical problems and people saying they do not know if you will ever play again?
Ryan Clark: It wasn't so bad. The last thing on my mind was playing. It was more about living and being healthy enough to be there for my family. It was scary because you love the game but after you get so sick it stops being your main objective.
From Justin Booren in Greeley, Colorado: Did your medical injury last year have an emotional impact on you off the field?
Ryan Clark: Not really. The pain had the most effect on how I acted. If there was a day I felt good I enjoyed myself. But sometimes you are in so much pain it affects the way you act outwardly.
From Greg Battles in Jacksonville, Florida: Was it hard watching the team and not being able to be out there with them when you were injured?
Ryan Clark: Only when we lost. The games we were winning it wasn't hard because I liked seeing my guys do well. During that last stretch when we didn't win and I was out of the hospital able to go to the games, that was the hardest part. It was hard watching them play so hard and not come out on top.
From John Barlow in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: How good does it feel to be back on the field again?
Ryan Clark: It's wonderful. I am just happy. Mistakes don't seem so bad to me. If I fall down and they catch a pass, I know I will get up and try to make the next one. It's a blessing to be out there.
From R.A. Williams in Lanham, Maryland: I live here in the DC metro area, and they still speak glowingly of you in these parts, as far as you having been a catalyst for the Redskins defense. How hard was it for you to leave the Redskins and sign with the Steelers?
Ryan Clark: It was hard because you meet people there, I had a life there, a church and friends. Once I met the guys here and found out how close and tight a family it was, including the upstairs with the office people, it made it easier. Any time you are somewhere for two years you form a relationship it's hard to leave. But my transition was good and I love it here now.
From Rick Brown in Akron, Ohio: With Troy at the other safety spot do you feel it plays to your strength as a solid tackler to let Troy roam the way he does and make you more disciplined to stay in the right position at all times?
Ryan Clark: Playing with a guy like Troy is an adventure in itself. I see that hair bouncing and stuff and I don't know what he is doing. I just play. But we form a pretty good team. He's allowed to be the type of player he is and make great plays for our team. If he ever lets on get past him I will go and make that play. It's good for me.
From Jacob Biggerstaff in Normal, Illinois: Are there any lingering fears or doubts about your medical situation that would make you hesitate on putting the big hit on an opposing player?
Ryan Clark: No. If we got back to Denver I might be a little nervous. But as far as my health I am ready to play.
From Paul Martin in Syracuse, New York: Do you feel like you have to battle to get your starting job back this year?
Ryan Clark: Of course. You always feel that way. I know there are a lot of questions – did the rehab go well, is he the same player he was before. I definitely think I will have to battle. When I am out there now I don't feel like I am a starter yet.
From Thomas Morrow in Rockland, Pennsylvania: Coming through the tunnel at Heinz Field when the team is announced and you see all the Terrible Towels waving, what's running through your mind?
Ryan Clark: I remember my first game here when we played Miami and I went out there and the towels were waving and (Jerome Bettis) The Bus was ready to come on the field, it was the most amazing professional experience I had. Now you come to expect that of the Steelers fans. You see women walking to work with their dress suits on holding jerseys on hangers. It's unbelievable.
From Steve James in Sanbury, Pennsylvania: What do you like to do to get away from football?
Ryan Clark: I like to play with my kids, chill out with my wife and go to the movies.
From Randy Clinton, York, Pennsylvania: If you were not a football player, what career path would you have followed?
Ryan Clark: I probably would have been a principal. As I have gotten older that is something I want to do, teach kids and help them out any way I could.