Steelers S Ryan Clark Thinks Offseason Scrutiny Has Helped Galvanize Locker Room

On Wednesday, after he had already appeared on First Take earlier in the day to discuss the one-upmanship comments made by Joe Greene following the announcement of his retirement from the Pittsburgh Steelers organization, safety Ryan Clark was a guest on the Hill & Schlereth radio show and he talked about the state of the Steelers locker room this offseason.

After first rehashing a lot of the things that he said earlier in the day about the comments made by Greene, Clark went into to talking about how things are in the locker room presently.

“Overall, I\’ve seen through this offseason, now that more things have come out with the LaMarr Woodley anonymous quote and different things like that. I\’ve seen guys band together.

“I\’ve talked to more teammates on the phone, like actually heard their voices this year, than I have any year. I\’ve had more guys text me, whether it be Antonio Brown, Maurkice Pouncey, Ramon Foster – \’Hey man we\’re working. This year\’s going to be different.\’

“So I think it\’s allowed us to band together in a way. We\’ve never faced this kind of external scrutiny before. This is the first time that we\’ve had to deal with this probably as a group with people questioning how close we are.”

Clark was then reminded that a lot of scrutiny towards the Steelers locker room is a result of what\’s coming out of it, including he himself saying several weeks ago that the locker room was fractured. Clark then tried to clarify those earlier comments.

“I think the biggest thing was the anonymous quote and when I made that comment, I said, \’Yeah, I think this is a sign of a fractured locker room.\’ To clarify that, I was talking about the comment made me think of a fractured locker room, not what I had seen throughout the 2012 season.

“There weren\’t guys fighting each other in the locker room. There weren\’t arguments and disagreements constantly, it was the normal Pittsburgh Steelers locker room. We shot basketball in the garbage cans. On our breaks, people play ping pong. Guys worked out. It was, to me, it was the status quos. It was the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

Clark was then asked if he thought the external scrutiny this offseason is what\’s driving the team to work a little bit harder and to stay in contact more with one another. In addition, he was asked if he thought the team would rebound in 2013 because of that external scrutiny.

“I do, I do,” said Clark. “I never think that you want to say that it was needed, but I think it\’s healthy. I think it has galvanized the locker room into that “one locker room”, into that “us- against- the-world” type deal. I think we where used to getting praised. We were 12-4 three out of the last four years. We had been to two Super Bowls in the last five. So it was just everything was always going good and I don\’t think the kids that are coming in realize how great of a place it is to play football.

“I\’ve been in Washington and I\’ve been in New York, which are both two good organizations, but the freedom that we\’re allowed to be individuals, the freedom that we\’re allowed to express ourselves in Pittsburgh, is like no other place.

“I think guys have taken that laid back atmosphere that we have, because you know, when coach Tomlin came in he was driving us, working us hard and then he realized, hey, these guys are going to show up and do what they have to do, because they\’re professionals, and I feel that the young guys feel a little bit entitled to that and don\’t understand how rare it is to be in an organization that conducts themselves this way.”

While this interview won\’t get a lot of play in the mainstream media, it was good to hear Clark, pretty much unprovoked, talk about how the team seems more driven this year than previous years. In addition, it was good, in my opinion, that he again called out younger players on the team that possess an entitled attitude now that they are members of the Steelers organization.

Perhaps, as Clarks stated, all that has happened this offseason has indeed galvanized the team more. With the roster slowly moving from older to younger, this team needs that kind of atmosphere more than ever internally.

So now it is your turn. What did you like or dislike about what Clark had to say? Do you think that his comments were just lip service, or were they genuine.

  • Mike.H

    Ever since NFL salaries exploded to a point where non QB players were making $6M to $14M per season… their ego’s and selfishness went out of control… and thru the roof!

  • zyzak

    I’m so over Ryan Clark

  • Gary Thomas

    Ryan Clark cares….doubt it? WATCH HIM PLAY

  • Me too.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    Good stuff. I see from the comments it’s far too deep for some but this is a recognition and verbalization of the need for leadership from the players instead of just the coaches. It’s nice to see him recognize that the respect Tomlin gives his players requires them to step up if they don’t want to see management go back to treating them like a bunch of stupid kids.

    As for the comments? I would love to see some of these internet tough guys walk their talk on the field for 30 minutes of full contact practice let alone a lifetime of media and internet scrutiny.

    I promise none of them would have the balls to get up in front of the world and try to develop a new career like Clark is doing on ESPN.

  • I would like to see him become a good Leader to these young Safeties we now have. It is nice to hear him say the locker room is not fractured. I do wish he would get off the TV and back down to Arizona and keep Woodley busy though. I do not think either one of them were at OTAs a few weeks back. Ben, Kiesel, Pouncey and some other vets were there which was nice to see.

  • rizzo29

    That,s the price to pay being a professional athlete,it’s not all sugarplums and lollipops.

  • steeltown

    I think it was genuine.. players got called out.. the Team was called out, backs against the wall is exactly the way they like it.. exactly the way I like it

    That being said, guys like Pouncey, Keisel and Polamalu need to truly be leaders of this Team and lead by example, especially at their respective positions, be vocal and show the young guys what it means to be a Pittsburgh Steeler, Ike Taylor seems to be doing his part..taking Cortez under his wing, the rest need to follow suit… the mindset needs to carry on when these guys depart

  • JDR

    millions of dollars will buy as many sugarplums and lollipops you want… lets see these guys go through the 2 a days guys my age had to endure… it was truly about survival, they wouldnt even give you but maybe 2-3 water breaks a day…if you needed a drink somebody (a coach) would be calling you a pussy…. you didnt even stop to puke, you puked on yourself as you kept running. I lost almost 20 lbs in one day of 2 a day summer practice, also was very close to heat stroke.. you didnt have any energy left to complain or run your mouth.. this was before Korey Stringer died of heat stroke forcing changes to the culture…. and we did this for no money… see if any of these young punks could last more than a day of that…not that it was good for anybody, just showing how much things have changed in the last 25-30 years

  • SteelSpine

    It’s the side-effect from offseasons being so long & not much happens during long offseasons. During long offseasons is just a few player transactions then a 1-week draft. Not much news happens during long months of offseasons, so last offseason each player was asked about an anonomous player had commented about Woodley not excercised enough during prior season. Please regular season games get here quick!

    Clark’s comments are similar to players on NFL teams in past offseasons I’ve heard reply in answer to questions about their lockerroom: Seems like when asked about their lockerroom they reply this offseason will be better lockerroom than the previous season. What matters tho is just what they do on field this regular season.

  • SteelersDepot

    last warning about the language