Clark disappointed, but respects decision

You never see Ryan Clark wear his No. 25 jersey in practice as instead he is always wearing a No. 21 practice jersey to honor his former Redskins teammate Sean Taylor, who was shot to death in a home invasion in 2007.

But on Wednesday he switched jerseys with teammate Bryant McFadden, sporting the No. 20 jersey as he mimicked Broncos safety Brian Dawkins in practice.

For Clark it's the closest he will get to playing this week. Clark will miss the game because he has a sickle cell trait and playing football in the high altitude in Denver can lead to further complications.

"From the competitive side of it, from wanting to be out there with your teammates, wanting to be in the playoffs it's tough," said Clark. "This is why you work hard in the offseason. This is why you try hard in the regular season to have this opportunity. To not be able to contribute physically is hard. You have to understand the reason why and I do.

"I will do what I can to help the team. I am going to be Brian Dawkins in practice and I will have fun with that."

Coach Mike Tomlin made the decision that Clark wouldn't play after conferring with the medical staff. Clark said if it was only up to him, he would play after discussing it with his family and praying for guidance.

"It would have been easy for me. I would have said I am going to play," said Clark. "But now I don't have to worry every play, worry about being tired. I don't have to worry about after the game if I have discomfort. It would be stressful on me, my family and the people in the organization. But I will be all right. I will be on the plane back from Denver. It's what I wanted to do. It was taken out of my hands and I was fine with it.

"Not playing hurts and it's a little disheartening. I have faith in the guys that they will pull it out."

Clark said that he was impressed that Tomlin made the decision he did, but not surprised as he always puts the players well-being first.

"It's the way he coaches his team, allowing us to be individuals and treating us like men," said Clark. "He cares about each individual on this team past football. He has shown throughout he cares about us as people. I appreciate him being man enough to understand the severity of the situation."

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