Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark has never been shy about letting his feelings known through the media and always jumps at the chance to battle his nemesis Skip Bayless, who is notorious for reading into comments made by players. Such was the case Monday morning when Clark phoned into ESPN First Take to clarify his tweets he made on Twitter Friday after the reports surfaced that the New Orleans Saints had a long running bounty system in place under then defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
During the interview, Clark made a point to distinguish the difference between whistle blowing and snitching to Bayless in regards to Bounty Gate and made it clear he had never been approached himself to participate in a bounty on a player when he said, “I was on a team that guys put up money for certain things, and I tweeted this yesterday. I have never in my career, at the New York Giants, the Washington Redskins, nor the Pittsburgh Steelers, ever had a defensive coach come into a meeting, single out a guy and say, If you knock out this guy, we will give you a certain amount of money for it. Never not one time in my career. I have been in places where we put up money for interceptions, fumbles, big hits, but never in my career have I been on a team that wanted to put a guy out, and you were paid a specific amount, a guy was named and if you got him out of the game you were paid for it.”
Clark went on to reiterate that the Steelers do not have a bounty system when pressed for an answer by Bayless. Clark also addressed the recent allegations made by former Redskins safety Matt Bowen in regards to a bounty system that he said was in place when both he and Clark were in Washington together and Clark ended the interview by essentially defending the code of the locker room, just as I expected he would.
The most damaging thing that Clark might have said in the interview is that he has been in places that players have put up money for other things outside of bounties. The IRS will surely be looking at not only the outcome of the investigation as it relates to players earning additional cash money through a bounty type system, but also money earned through a pool of money put up for things outside of bounties. Uncle Sam always want his share.
The video of the interview is below.