Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes Tuesday that Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Ryan Clark said that he is still planning to give his opinion on things this upcoming season, but that he will tone it down to some degree.
“Some of the attention that you draw when the statements you make are against the people who make the rules, I think it makes it harder on your team,” Clark said via Kaboly. “When it starts to affect the way your team is viewed, when it starts affecting the perception of your organization, you have to look at it and understand the greater good.”
Clark, who is one of the Steelers union representatives along with quarterback Charlie Batch, has been very outspoken against the NFL in regard to the rules of hitting wide receivers. Clark was particularly upset last season for being fined $40,000 for his hit on Baltimore Ravens tight end Ed Dickson.
Clark added that the perception of his team was starting to be tainted and that his outspokenness was not because they didn\’t care about the rules, but more that he thought the Steelers were being “mistreated”.
Although he plans on toning it down this season, Clark will not be completely quiet and said that he will continue to be himself. “I want to focus on football,” Clark said. “Our time to win a championship is winding down so I want to put all my focus into that. But I am (still) going to give my opinion.”
“There is no situation where I said I am going to shut up. I am going to be me, I am going to speak out and be honest.”
While Clark has great intentions right now, it will be interesting to see if indeed he is able to hold his tongue should a Steelers player be, in his opinion, unjustly fined this year. A test could be on the way depending on whether or not the league takes action against linebacker Larry Foote, who could be hearing from the league office soon if they deem his hit this past Sunday night on Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Austin Collie illegal.
Collie left the game and was checked for a concussion following him taking a hit to the head from Foote in the first quarter of game. While the hit looked more bang-bang than egregious, you just don\’t know how the league will view it or if they will want to send the Steelers a preseason message or not. We shall see.