American Football Database
Ryan Clark
File:Ryan Clark redskins 2014 camp (cropped).jpg
Clark with the Redskins in 2014
No. 21, 25     
Personal information
Date of birth: (1979-10-12) October 12, 1979 (age 42)
Place of birth: Marrero, Louisiana
Career information
College: LSU
Undrafted in 2002
No regular season or postseason appearances
Career history
* New York Giants ( 2002 2003)
Career highlights and awards
* Super Bowl champion (XLIII)
Tackles     929
Quarterback sacks     4.0
Interceptions     16
Forced fumbles     5
Stats at

Ryan Terry Clark[1][2] (born October 12, 1979) is a former American football safety who played in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Louisiana State University (LSU), and was signed by the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2002. Clark has also played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and for the Washington Redskins. He won the Vince Lombardi Trophy with the Steelers, defeating the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII.

On January 25, 2012, Clark was named to his first career Pro Bowl, replacing the injured Ed Reed.[3][4]

He also appeared as one of the players for the fictional Gotham Rogues team in The Dark Knight Rises.

Clark has a sickle cell trait condition which made it dangerous for him to play at high altitudes, such as in Denver, Colorado.

Early years

Clark was born in Marrero, Louisiana. From 1993 to 1997, he attended Archbishop Shaw High School in Marrero.

College career

At Louisiana State University, Clark started 36 consecutive games for the LSU Tigers football team. In 2000, he was selected to the All-SEC second team by the league's coaches. Clark ranked third on the Tigers in 2001 with 88 tackles, including 63 solo, and also intercepted three passes. He recorded five tackles, including a 13-yard sack, in the Sugar Bowl and was LSU's Special Teams Player of the Year in 1998.

Professional career

New York Giants

In 2002, Clark was signed as an undrafted free agent by the New York Giants. Clark played for the Giants for two seasons. He played in the first six games of the 2002 season for Giants, all on special teams. He was waived during the bye week and signed with the practice squad two days later, remaining there for the rest of the season.

Clark had a breakout season with the Giants in 2003, starting four games and appearing in every game, either on defense or special teams. He posted 23 tackles (17 solo) and one sack, two pass deflections and five special teams stops.

Washington Redskins

Clark during his initial tenure with the Redskins

He signed as a free agent to the Washington Redskins prior to the 2004 season. He stepped in for injured safeties Matt Bowen and Andre Lott early in the season and played in 15 games, starting 11. He led Redskins defensive backs with 91 tackles and ranked fourth on the team in tackles.

Clark played in thirteen games in the 2005 season making 57 tackles and three interceptions. While he played well for Washington and wanted to re-sign with the team, the Redskins decided to cut ties with him and signed Adam Archuleta to be their new starting safety; the signing would be cited years later by NFL Network as the worst free agent signing in NFL history, along with other free agent busts by the Redskins including Deion Sanders and Albert Haynesworth.[5]

Pittsburgh Steelers

File:Polamalu and clark SB43 parade.jpg

Clark (right, in hoodie) and teammate Troy Polamalu in the Steelers' Super Bowl XLIII victory parade in February 2009

He signed with the Steelers as a free agent on March 15, 2006 replacing former safety Chris Hope who signed with the Tennessee Titans.

In 2006, Clark made 72 tackles playing free safety for the Steelers, along with one interception and three fumble recoveries. He played 13 games and started 12 of them, missing the final three with a groin injury. During training camp before the 2007 season, he remained a starter despite a position battle with second year player Anthony Smith.

During a 2007 game against the Denver Broncos at Invesco Field at Mile High, Clark developed severe pain in his left side and had to be rushed to the hospital. It turned out that Clark had suffered a splenic infarction due to the sickle cell trait from which he has suffered since he was a child; these are usually a risk at high altitudes. Clark had to have his spleen and gall bladder removed, ending his season. He lost 30 pounds after the removal, but returned to the Steelers in 2008. Although Clark was medically cleared to play in Denver's thin air without any complications, the Steelers took the precautionary measure of deactivating him for the four games played in Denver thereafter during Clark's career with the team—a 2009 Monday Night game, a 2010 preseason game, a 2011 playoff game and the 2012 season opener.

Clark was the Steelers' recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award in 2008.[6]

File:Ryan clark & delanie walker.jpg

Clark with the Steelers in 2013

To honor his former Redskins teammate, the late Sean Taylor, Clark wears Taylor's #21 during practices.[7]

At the end of the 2010 season, Clark and the Steelers appeared in Super Bowl XLV against the Green Bay Packers. He was a starter and recorded eight total tackles in the 31–25 loss.[8]

Set to become a free agent in the 2014 offseason, the Steelers made no attempt to resign Clark.[9] The Steelers proceeded with their plans to replace him after they signed Mike Mitchell to a long-term contract on March 11, 2014 to become the team's new starting free safety.[10]

Washington Redskins (second stint)

On March 31, 2014, Clark returned to Washington on a one-year contract.[11][12] With DeAngelo Hall on injured reserve, he was named the team's defensive captain in his place.[13] He recorded his only interception of the season against quarterback Andrew Luck in the loss against the Indianapolis Colts on November 30.[14]


On February 18, 2015, Clark announced his retirement from the NFL.[15]


Clark was active in the community and while with the Giants, participating in the 2002 United Way Hometown Huddle by conducting a football clinic at the Highbridge Center for members of Alianza Dominicana, a local United Way agency that services families in Washington Heights. He joined forces with students from the Leadership In Public Services High School located at Ground Zero for "Operation PaintFest." Sponsored by the Foundation for Hospital Art, the participants created paintings of hope that would later be donated to the five New York City hospitals involved in the September 11th tragedies.

Since recovering from his crisis in 2007, Clark has been involved with sickle cell disease awareness, research, treatment and programming in Pittsburgh. In 2012, he announced the formation of Ryan Clark's Cure League to raise awareness about sickle cell trait and eventually find a cure.[16]

In March 2015, Clark was signed by ESPN as an NFL analyst and regularly appears on NFL Live, Sportscenter, Mike & Mike and First Take.[17]


  1. "Pro Football Reference Profile".
  2. "LSU Tigers Profile".
  3. "Ryan Clark added to Pro Bowl". Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  4. "Steelers' Clark goes to first Pro Bowl". Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-08-05. Retrieved 2014-06-16.
  7. [1]
  8. "Super Bowl XLV - Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Green Bay Packers - February 6th, 2011" (in en).
  9. Ryan Clark bids farewell to the Pittsburgh Steelers
  10. Meet Mike, the Steelers' new FS
  11. Smith, Michael (March 31, 2014). "Ryan Clark heads to Washington". Retrieved 2014-03-31.
  12. Hanzus, Dan (March 31, 2014). "Ryan Clark, Washington Redskins agree on 1-year deal". Retrieved 2014-03-31.
  13. Maske, Mark (October 10, 2014). "Jay Gruden appoints Ryan Clark as defensive captain". Retrieved 2014-10-12.
  14. "Redskins-Colts Monday Stats Pack". December 1, 2014. Retrieved 2015-01-02.
  15. Shook, Nick (February 18, 2015). "Ryan Clark announces retirement after 13 seasons as a Steeler". Retrieved 2015-02-18.
  16. Ryan Clark won't play in Denver. ESPN, 2012-09-04.
  17. "Ryan Clark". Retrieved 17 November 2016.

External links