Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark said during his post game talk with the media that the referees had meetings about him prior to the game Sunday against the New York Giants and that they were looking for an opportunity to flag him in the game.
“They had meetings about me before the game,” Clark said. “So anytime they see number 25 flash, and a hit be made, it’s going to be an opportunity for me to get a flag.”
As far as the bad call that went against Clark when he was flagged for an alleged helmet-to-helmet hit on Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz in the end zone, the Steelers safety was very blunt when asked about it.
“They knew they were wrong,” Clark said. “The guy had a rib injury. Period.”
Clark, and all of the players on the Steelers defense for that matter, must really feel like they are marked men each and every game. It seems like every time that one of them delivers a big hit that a flag ends up on the field.
The hit that Clark delivered on Cruz, that you can see a replay of in the animated gif below, was as textbook as they come.
Clark did lighten up on the referees later in the interview.
“We cant control the calls that are made,” Clark said. “The referees are doing the best that they can. That\’s how I look at it – is that they\’re going to try to do the best that they can. As long as they don\’t have money on the game, I know that they\’re out there just trying to do their job the same as we are.”
“So they are going to make some bad calls and they did. I told you that when the replacement refs were here. The ones that do it all the time ain\’t perfect, and they weren\’t.”
Severely players on the Giants made it a point all week leading up to the game to make sure that the referees knew that the Steelers like to hold not only on offense, but defense as well. Cruz was one of those players.
“It’s pretty blatant how they do it,” Cruz said last week of the Steelers defensive backs. “Some of it’s not being called, and some of it is, so we just have to be prepared to fight through it no matter what happens. And no matter what the down and distance is, expect to be held, expect to be grabbed and just continue to fight.”
Fight is one thing that Cruz didn\’t have in him after the hit by Clark as he looked to be unwilling to really test the middle of the Steelers secondary from that point forward. It looked like his fight had been stopped cold. Maybe the penalty was worth it after all.