Ryan Clark Loses His Mind

They say the true test of a person’s character is how they handle adversity.  Anybody can ride the wave when things are good, it’s how you deal with the bad times that test your mettle.  With the Pittsburgh Steelers experiencing a collapse of historic proportions, we’re finally starting to learn which players are stand up guys and which ones are dicks.  Yesterday, starting safety Ryan Clark unleashed a 12 minute rant which will live in Pittsburgh sports infamy while earning him a permanant place in Camp Asshat.

After watching the video above, you can read the entire transcript of his tirade here or just a recap of it here.   You can find a different version (shorter but unedited) of the above video here.

Where to begin with this idiocy.  First of all, I’m sick and tired of the “You never played so you don’t know anything” excuse pro athletes use whenever somebody dares to criticize them.   The late Bill Walsh was one of the most revolutionary minds in the history of pro football.  He invented the West Coast offense and coached the 49ers to three Super Bowls.   I dunno how he could accomplish all that since he never played one down of NFL football.

I understand Clark’s point about assigning blame.  I don’t have a copy of the Steelers playbook so I don’t know exactly where every player should be on every play.  I’m sure sometimes I blame the wrong person for messing up.   However, when the EXACT same players are consistently in the vicinity of bad things happening, that has to be more than a coincidence.  And I don’t think I need a playbook to recognize when a receiver drops a catchable pass or a defensive player misses a tackle.

The rest of the rant is petty bullshit.  Posting angry fan mail on the team bulletin board?   If this team needs negativity from Steeler Nation to inspire it to play hard, there is something seriously wrong.  A hastily scribbled note from some dopey yinzer saying the defense stinks set him off?  The last time a note set me off, I was at Haine Elementary School and Nikki Clinton sent me an unflattering message about my British Knights.  Nice to know Clark has the maturity level of a nine year old.

And calling the local media overly negative and comparing Pittsburgh sports writers to Philadelphia’s is laughable.   First of all, our journalists don’t write in crayon because this city actually has a literacy rate above 25%.  Secondly, those “loyal fans” were ready to run Andy Reid and Donavan McNabb out of town last season because they’ve only lead that pathetic franchise to their most successful era ever.  And finally, maybe the media and fans are more forgiving of a blown coverage or two because the Iggles HAVEN’T LOST FIVE GAMES IN A ROW.

If anything, the Pittsburgh sports media routinely acts like the unofficial P.R. agency for the Steelers.  One of the reasons Steeler fans (and I’m guilty of this myself) have an annoying habit of treating the team like it’s the most honorable franchise in all of sports and the players are all men of impeccable character is because the media goes out of their way to portray them that way.  Heaven forbid anybody criticize the Black and Gold or paint their players in a negative light.  Sure they cover stories they have to cover, like Skippy Reed‘s assaulting a towel dispenser or Big Ben (allegedly) getting all rapey with a cowgirl in Vegas, but most of the time you’d think the saints play in Pittsburgh, not New Orleans.   And again, if the media has turned on the team in recent weeks, perhaps it’s because THEY’VE LOST FIVE GAMES IN A ROW.

Ryan Clark loved the fans when 400,000 of them lined Grant Street to shower him and his team with praise after Super Bowl XLIII. There is no thing as unconditional love.  If you want the praise in the good times, you have to accept the criticism during the bad.  I guess Clark is too immature and self-involved to realize this.

Clark is a free agent at the end of this season.  Considering his level of play has been somewhere between average and abysmal, I wouldn’t shed a tear if the Steelers let him go.  I’m sure we can find another mediocre safety who can ride Troy Polamalu‘s coattails.  Meanwhile, maybe Ryan will find a city where the fans and media are more forgiving of his inability to cover recievers or make an open field tackle.  May I suggest Dallas or New York.  I’m sure they’d be right up his alley.

Topics: 2009 Nfl Playoffs, Andy Reid, Baltimore Ravens, Ben Roethlisberger, Big Ben, Bill Walsh, Black And Gold, Black And Gold Blog, Charlie Batch, Dennis Dixon, Fast Willie Parker, Fwp, Haine Elementary School, Hines Ward, Lamarr Woodley, Mike Tomlin, Nfl Playoffs, Philadelphia Eagles, Philly, Philly Eagles, Philly Iggles, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Steelers Blog, Pittsburghers, Rashard Mendenhall, Ratbirds, Ravens-Steelers, Roethlisberger, Roethlisberger Concussion, Ryan Clark, Ryan Clark Rant, Ryan Clark Steeler Nation, Ryan Clark Tirade, Ryan Clark Turds, Santonio Holmes, Steeler Nation, Steelers, Steelers Blog, Steelers Nation, Stillers, Super Bowl Champions, Troy Polamalu

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  • Leigh-Anne

    You summed it up perfectly.

  • Robyn

    Dear Ryan Clark,

    I work hard at my job too. But no matter how well I perform thoughout the year or in years past, if I screw up consistently for 5 straight weeks, I expect to be criticized and held accountable. grow up.

    Love,
    Steeler Nation

  • http://countrygirlcitylife.com Kati

    First of all, I want to say that I love the Steelers… always have and always will. I also want to put out there that I stood in the -10 degree weather here in Cleveland during that game.

    IMO.. Ryan Clark can shove it!

    I am sorry, I know that all teams have bad games.. and the lose streak sucks.. but as fans we will get over it and cheer on our team at the next game. But the lose to Cleveland SUCKED. We have not lost to them in 5 years.. and they were 1-11. 1-11.

    Yes, Pitt may be held to a higher standard but that is because they earned that standard with 6 Superbowl rings. He should grow up and accept that he is a pro athlete. He makes millions of dollars to play football..and winning is apart of that lifestyle. Shut up.. grieve your loss to Cleveland and win next week!

  • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

    Robyn, great comment. I love your ability to take the sentiments I need five paragraphs to express and just lay it out there in a few pointed sentences.

    Then again, my regular job does pay me by the word. :)

  • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

    Kati, long time, no hear. I was wondering if you were at that Cleveland travesty. It looked like the crowd was 50% Steeler Nation so at least you weren’t alone in your suffering.

    And I agree, we do hold the team to a high standard. But I also think we’re realistic in our expectations. If they were 8-8 last season, people wouldn’t be happy but they wouldn’t be near as upset about losing five straight either.

    We’re defending Super Bowl champions, for crying out loud.

  • Monique

    Clark misses 4 tackles & when he gets one he wants us all to kiss his butt. I don’t think so. I’ll be glad to see you go ryan! Its not just that we are losing, its the teams we are losing to. They won the superbowl last year for crying out loud. Not that I think he was the main problem, but to insult us fans who bleed black & gold, what a jerk.

  • http://temple3.wordpress.com Temple3

    I don’t a problem with what Ryan Clark had to say. He clearly and repeatedly affirmed his love for the fans. He is clear about the scope of Steeler Nation and the level of commitment fans have made. He couldn’t have been clearer.

    I think his real beef is that the media and some fans are acting as though the defense is equally culpable for the outcomes of the season. The defense, operating without Smith and Polamalu, is still ranked 4th. The offense, for the second year in a row has struggled mightily to score and has turned the ball over when games could have been put away. Every INT Ben has thrown this season has been with a lead or tie. The offense and special teams have surrendered 8 touchdowns. Jeff Reed is ranked next to last in avg kickoff distance.

    Between the injuries, the short fields, the offensive turnovers, and the new faces on defense, people need to be honest about the entire team. The defense is ranked 4th and entered the Raider game #1 in fewest TD’s allowed. They’re not as good as last season, but given who is on the field it’s hard to say the unit is not over-performing.

    This is not the case for the offense or special teams…and this is the point that Clark is implicitly hammering home in his criticism of the coverage of the defense. It’s just not about Clark and “the fans.” That’s a red herring.

  • http://temple3.wordpress.com Temple3

    “(h)ave” would have fit nicely on line 1. Pardon.

  • JD

    I agree with Temple. Defense is still ranked highly, but has failed miserably when needed. Really shouldn’t be in that position to begin with. Fault does seem to lie with the offense (and special teams). Roethlisberger is just a good quarterback who is a great scrambler. I don’t know who to look to for blame…receivers, offense line, or Ben himself. I tend to think it’s mostly on Ben…Ben makes hay after the secondary has broken down. He doesn’t seem to find receivers very quickly (like a Manning, or Brady for that matter). Defense can’t stick with receivers forever, and if you give any quarterback enough time, he’ll find someone. Ben is just big enough and mobile enough to get the time for breakdown to happen. Doesn’t take a Buddie Ryan to figure out how to keep Ben contained and get to him. With this ridiculous play calling (3rd and short in the shotgun? TWICE!!!) it plays right into what the defense has been practicing for all week. We’ll see what happens today against GB.