In honor of the Pittsburgh Steelers season kickoff against Denver. I wanted to share the interview that I had with this exceptional member of the Pittsburgh Steelers who will not be playing until Week 2 against the Jets. Currently Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark’s career stands at eleven years and counting. This veteran safety began playing when he was just 5 years old and was a natural at the game of football. He also enjoyed playing basketball and baseball but football was his true calling. After attending Bishop Shaw High School he went on to have a successful college career at LSU.
Amarie: What made you choose to attend LSU?
Ryan: It was close to home, a good school and a great college football destination. Also, I had a dream I was on the sideline when LSU beat Florida and took it as a sign.
Amarie: Prior to being drafted into the NFL was there a specific team you hoped to play for?
Ryan: No, not at all. I just wanted a chance to play. I would have been happy anywhere.
Clark was originally signed by the NY Giants in 2002 as a free agent and had a brief stint playing for the Redskins but is more commonly known for being a Pittsburgh Steeler. Throughout his NFL career Clark has overcome injuries and the 2007 sickle cell scare in Denver. When I asked him about his condition he explained that his sickle cell disease “strictly affects him only in Denver other than that everything is fine.” With that being said Clark is most looking forward to week 2 since it will be his first game of this season. Unfortunately, Clark was unable to play in the playoff game in Denver last season against Tebow’s Broncos and he will have to watch on as his team takes on Peyton in week 1. Even though he is disappointed that he can’t play this game he is confident in the Steelers offense and is looking forward to stepping on the field and facing the Jets in week two!
Amarie: Has there been any players whom you have looked up to or tried to emulate?
Ryan: Sean Taylor is someone who inspires me. He was a dear friend and an amazing talent. It was his intensity and passion that I try to emulate. He played every play like his last. And Troy is a true inspiration for his immense talent and ultimate humility. I can only pray to be that way.
Amarie: After appearing on ESPN, do you have any plans to pursue a career as an analyst after football?
Ryan: I’ll definitely explore that as an option. I hope I get the opportunity.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have had an interesting pre-season run. The addition of Haley to the offensive team caused some tension with Ben in the beginning but now seems to be running pretty smoothly.
Amarie: Is there any concerns with Big Ben adjusting to the new offensive style?
Clark: He is a pro- bowler, 2 time Super Bowl winning QB. If it were my job to be concerned, which its not. I wouldn’t be at all. He’ll do great.
The confidence of Ryan Clark in his team mates and coaching staff is well earned because the Steelers have pulled it all together by winning 3/4 preseason games. Preseason games don’t mean much but hopefully this is an indication that they will continue to work hard and there will be some big moves by the younger guys. Another interesting twist to the Steelers off season was the Mike Wallace and his infamous hold out which caused a little bit of angst this summer but he is back and in action. Hopefully we can see him get the job done on the field after all of the drama that he caused.
Injuries are an unavoidable part of football. David Decastro was put on injured reserve after sustaining a knee injury during the preseason Bills game which could end up being at least 8 weeks without this young Guard. Mendenhall is still recovering from his knee surgery but it’s only a matter of time that we will see him on the field again. Redman will do just fine against the Broncos and is more than capable of gaining some yardage for the Steelers. Redman was the Steelers second leading rusher in 2011 and his average yards per carry actually exceeded Mendenhall’s last year.
The Steelers opening season game against the Broncos will be an exciting game and will most definitely be close. It will be interesting to see how Peyton does with his debut game. Let the games begin!
Prediction: Steelers 24 Broncos 21