When a player turns 30, it’s a safe bet their career will start to decline. At the age of 34, Ryan Clark has played his best football past the age of 30. After being selected for the first time to the pro bowl in 2011, Ryan Clark has only continued to improve.
Complain all you want about Clark’s media tour, but I don’t really have a problem with it. The way I see it, good for him that he can speak his mind about what everyone else is really thinking. He was quoted saying “I did the ESPN thing because it was the smart thing to do.” You can’t argue the fact that its good for Ryan Clark’s future to begin to get into broadcasting. Say he goes down with a pretty bad injury early next year, he probably wouldn’t play another down, so he has the broadcasting as a backup plan.
In the 4th round of this years 2013 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers traded up with the Cleveland Browns to draft the 5’9 safety out of Syracuse. Shamarko Thomas was an incredible value pick because as Carnell Lake said “if he had two more inches, he would have been in the first round in my opinion.” The most noteworthy part about the Steelers trading up to get Thomas is that they traded away a future pick, which they have never done since the Chuck Noll era.
Why is this significant? Well the Steelers have to have a plan for this individual for them to do something out of the norm like this. A lot of people felt this would be Ryan Clark’s last year with the Steelers because he would most likely retire due to age and his recent interest in broadcasting. I thought this as well until he recently was quoted saying this according to Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review:
” I want to be here. I would love to be a Steeler until I retire,” Clark said. “But I don’t want this to be my last year. I did the ESPN thing because it’s smart to do it. I didn’t do it because I’m ready to stop playing football.”
Then I realized, why are we so quick to shove Ryan Clark out the door? What has Ryan done to show us he’s slowing down? If anything Troy is the one slowing down.
The argument could be made “well the Steelers had to have a plan for Shamarko if they were to trade up.” I agree they had a plan, but with two veteran safeties on the wrong side of 30, having a backup safety like Shamarko Thomas makes the Steelers look even smarter. There is no doubt Shamarko Thomas will be a play maker for the Steelers one day, but for now, I see no reason we need to bump out our underrated, pro bowl safety.
Will Ryan Clark be a Steeler in 2014? I honestly don’t know, but what I do know is like fine wine, Ryan Clark continues to get better with age.
Do you think Ryan Clark should be kept after the 2013 season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
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