Steelers Free Agent S Ryan Clark Doesn’t See Himself As Minimum Salary Player In 2014

With 2013 season now over for the Pittsburgh Steelers, there’s a good chance that several of the veteran unrestricted free agents have played their last game in the black and gold. One of those players is free safety Ryan Clark and he talked about the uncertainty that lies ahead of him following the Sunday win over the Cleveland Browns.

“They gave me a chance twice,” Clark said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “They gave me an opportunity to play. They gave me an opportunity to play in the Super Bowl. Some of my best friends are here in Pittsburgh. There are people I will remember forever. It was a blessing and an honor to play for an organization like this. I hope to continue playing, but if not, there will be no hard feelings. I have nothing but great memories.”

The Steelers will have to solve their salary cap issues prior to the start of the new league year and that means Clark will once again be allowed to test free agency like he did in 2010. After exploring the market that offseason, Clark eventually signed a four-year, $14 million contract that included $5 million guaranteed of which $3 million was signing bonus. Another $3 million was available to him through incentives.

Now, at 34 years of age, the only way Clark returns for one more season, and this assumes the Steelers even want him back, is if he agrees to take the veteran minimum or something very close to it. Clark, however, said Sunday after the game that he thinks he’s worth more than that.

“I’m not a minimum (salary) player,” said Clark, according to Jory Rand of KDKA-TV. “If I was putting out minimum effort, Id expect minimum pay. But until I do, think I’m worth more.”

By the sound of things, Clark’s not ready to call it a career just yet and it appears he’s prepared to play for another team in 2014.

“They’ve got Hall of Famers who finished in different jerseys, so I know I’m gonna be no different and I’m okay with that,” he said.

Clark won’t be in high demand during free agency so he will have a long wait until he knows if he will indeed play in 2014 and who he’ll be playing for.

  • dgh57

    Sorry Clark, but your play this season says otherwise and that means minimum salary if you return which I doubt you will! If that is so then thank you for your services it’s been a nice ride since you’ve been one of our top FAs signed in past years.

  • Alan Felicia

    At least he’s honest about not taking a veterans minimum. And why should these veterans like Clark and Keisel play another year, go through the season long grind and punishment and expect to play on a discounted salary.

  • steeltown

    Sad thing is, he wont take the minimum from the Steelers.. but he’ll end up having no choice then but to take the minimum from another Team

    Thanks for the memories Clark

  • Jones

    Minimum effort isn’t what gets you minimum pay, Ryan. It’s the minimum PRODUCTION that we’ve seen from you that will earn you that.

  • Luke Shabro

    Sorry but I don’t really even want to see Ryan back. Thanks for some great years but it is time to move on. I’d be ok with Keisel back on the minimum for depth, not as a starter.

  • Jollyrob68

    Thanks for the memories. It’s Shamarko time and I’m looking forward to it.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Ryan Clark was a GREAT asset for the Pittsburgh Steelers and we should thank him for his service to the Steelers and his contributions to winning championships. We should all be happy for his thankless efforts to cover the back end while allowing Troy to often freelance and make great plays. We should thank him for delivering timely crunching hits to receivers, the type of hits that changed games, the type of hits that are emblematic of Steelers of yesteryear.

    I believe your opponents this past year had your number sidestepping you at the last moment as you launched yourself trying to come up with the big hit and missing. When they see you coming, you needed to keep your head up and wrap them up. but that’s all water under the bridge now as you will probably not be back.

    So I choose to remember the great times of the past. Thanks for everything you have done to further true Steelers football. I wish you the best of luck in all future endeavors.

  • treeher

    James Harrison redux.

  • steeltown

    3 straight yrs with 100 combined tackles, he was great back there as Troy’s sidekick

  • Virdin Barzey

    I personally don’t see him playing anywhere else since its evident that his playing days at safety is just about over. Maybe the Redskins might take him back since the owner has made many asinine decisions.

    Overall, Clark has been very good for us over the years but it really time to move on. His play this year was not just sub par but in several games it was terrible. Hope he walks away and head to ESPN where he seemed to have set up a new career.

    Thanks Clark, we couldn’t have done it without you….no hard feelings

  • srdan

    Truth is he played a lot better in the second half of the season. That should be noted.

    Nonetheless…he is gone.

  • Geoff Cordner

    Bye Mr. Clark and thanks for all the hits!

  • T R

    Glad i got photo, autograph and talk to Ryan Clark in our 2013 Training Camp.. Love you Ryan.. you will be missed… you are the best but Steelers can’t pay you to be the best at this time..

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I was just going to post the same thing. I was going to use the word performance, but your word works.

  • RW

    I hope the Steelers don’t see him as a Steelers player in 2014.

  • Callentown

    This again why I wanted to see Sharko more. Didn’t play for the end of the year and was healthy. Clark was good, not great. But Sharko will have to learn still next season instead of coming in as the starter.

  • AndyR34

    Truth is…the whole defense played better the second half when they stopped trying to rely on rookies…JJ, Vince, and Shark. Not that they didn’t get some playing time, but it became more situational as opposed to starting. They were just not ready and we suffered for it…as a team.

  • srdan

    JJ and Vince were full time starters the last 6-7 games.

    The whole defense played better when Cam started beasting. It freed up a lot of playmakers.

  • Bernie B Roten

    Clark is done. He’s better than Troy Polamalu. But, that’s not saying much. It’s time to replace both of them and build for the future.

  • mlc43

    Better than TP? I love New Years jokes! Good one!

  • srdan


  • Bernie B Roten

    Both are well past their prime and not worthy of the salary hit. The steelers are still in “cap hell”. Clark and his production are much better than Polamalu and his when dollars come into the conversation. Troy is a coverage liability and not worth $8 mil

  • srdan

    He had 2 sacks, 2 picks and 5 forced fumbles this year. He ws a liability in covearge teh first half of the season when he was playing out of position (MLB). He finished the season very strong playing his natural position. He made the pro bowl by the way. Like I said, delusional.

    Clark does not have a cap hit next year as of now. And on him I would agree with you that he is past his prime.

    Who do you suggest we have play safety next year if we lose both of them?

  • DrakePirate

    Well said, thanks for all the great memories … but I don’t think he should come back at ANY PRICE minimum or otherwise … time to move on (he’s a detriment to our defense) … while he definitely may put out more than minimum effort his skills & speed have eroded to less than that which is acceptable … I wish him well with his next team or career whichever comes first !

  • Jonathon Bert Schade

    To those who seem to think #25 is finished, try to remember just who holds the secondary together when Troy is in the offensive backfield. Clark isn’t the fastest guy, never was. He isn’t the biggest guy, but hits like he is. He isn’t the smartest guy, but few are smarter. I, too, think he may be finished here in the Burgh, but I won’t downgrade him and wish him nothing but the best.

  • Bernie B Roten

    Shamarko Thomas and a draft pick

  • Brandon James

    Yea JJ, and Vince, and Shark understanding the defense is what made us look so strong. Fewer mistakes, and did anyone notice more and more base the past 6 weeks? V.Williams is getting a lot more snaps and I like it. Polamalu looks better in the covers.

  • Brandon James

    Replacing a Position with such Veteran Experience with 2 Rookies would be something Steelers would never do.

  • Bernie B Roten

    Why not? They aren’t going to be competitive for a few years. Might as well develop young talent.

  • Myster E

    Time to go with younger players. He drove me crazy with his half arm tackles and missed tackles.

  • Jeff

    As Clark’s final days as a Steeler, I’d like to remember the Ryan Clark circa ’05-’11 ish time frame…… Not the current one, whose ego seems to grow with his age.

  • steeltown

    He was solid last year as well, this year it seems his age may have finally caught up with him

  • Jeff

    I agree that he was solid last year. It just seemed like he was a lot more vocal beginning with last year, especially with the media.

  • Matt Searls

    I really hope shamarko is ready for this

  • srdan

    Well said.

  • Yorgos Mazkell

    ryan clark should not accept any offer from Cincinnati

  • srdan

    Your rants are funny but don’t have a backbone. In one thread you want the steelers to get rid of Colbert, here you want to take a chainsaw approach to our secondary. Let me guess, we should put Tomlin on the ESPN bottom line today with Schiano, Frazer and the crew?

    You should read teh definition of competitive. There are 16 teams in teh AFC, teh steelers were the 7 best team this year by how the NFL defines it. That coupled with finishing the season 8-4 over the last 12, and getting significant contributions from rookies makes me giddy for upcoming years. All this for a team that lost their signal callers on both sided of the ball week 1. Oh, and almost a quarter of the team on IR 12/53. I, my friend, am extremely encouraged for seasons to come.

  • Rick M

    I get the sense with Clark that it’s Ed Reed 2. Reed simply lost too many steps by the time he was 34 (2012 season), and he was a shadow of his former self. Clark is 34 and he’ll be 35 next October. It’s definitely time for the Steelers to move on.

    I obviously appreciate Clark’s contributions. But it strikes me as a little unusual given his play this year, and the fact he will be 35 next season, that he expects more than the veteran minimum if the Steelers retain him.

  • Bernie B Roten

    I like Tomlin. The constant injuries fall on the training staff and the front office not doing due diligence. You are going to have injuries but the steelers have way more than most. And, it’s often the same players. Gonna have to address the QB situation soon. Ben is headed for the downslope, taking alot of hits and is one college bar trip away from the end. I like the young WR’s and RB. The OL is a mess even with everyone healthy. The offense will be ok for the next few seasons. The defense is a concern. Need a NT and a whole new secondary. No money for free agents so need to rebuild through the draft. I see a few more seasons of 7-9 to 9-7 before things turn around. And by then we better have a new QB. I applaud you optimism. I just don’t see this team winning in the playoffs for a few more years.

  • Josh Knepshield

    What is wrong with people. His play? He was a TOP 20 safety in the NFL this year according to PFF. Why does everyone hate on Clark? Thomas is ok, but I’d feel very good about a safety rotation next year of Clark, Polamalu, and Shamarko.

  • Rick M

    What’s so impressive about barely making it into the Top 20 in a 32-team league? There is no way he’s going to improve next year at age 35. It’s time to move on and infuse some youth.

  • Pete Wallace

    Again I say that Goddell was part of Ryan Clark’s demise. Getting fined and flagged for legal hits has got to have an effect on your game. Yes he has slowed down but he is afraid to hit because it hurt the team, and not hitting hurt the team also. He has been a big part of the D and I think he is a really fine person but I don’t see him playing for the black and gold next year. Good luck Ryan it was a good ride.

  • MoSteel79

    Absolutely, I was glad to have him staring opposite 43 for the past few years but he definitely dropped off considerably this year. Actually, it’s amazing he produced at the level he did late in his career given the violent way he played the game. best of luck to Clark, hopefully he retires while he is still relatively healthy and transitions to that TV gig he’s been setting up over the past couple years.

  • Nolrog

    He’ll be below NFL Vet min next year. That’s what ESPN will pay him. Great career, fun to watch, but time to hang them up.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Everyone in every aspect of life thinks they are worth more than they are. Between our cap issues and his age the minimum is about what we can pay him. If we see that we have no one to start at his position maybe a bit over vet minimum but not much. Wish him the best where ever he goes or does.

  • Showboogie

    I must say that hit Clark put on McGahee in the AFC championship game was one of the hardest hits I ever seen in person. Thanks for all the good memories..

  • r4kolb

    Wow you saying you like Tomlin aside the fact you said what you did about Ben just shows your stupidity. Dave should block you from posting anymore. Wow.

  • r4kolb

    As I have said before I think Clark was defanged by the new NFL hit rules. He was a scary beast all his career but the rule changes made him ordinary. Thanx for the memories….IE the hit on Wes Welker taking him out over the middle. Ah for the Good ole days rather then the Goodell days.

  • Brendon Glad

    He was one of the most vicious and greatest hitters on steelers history. Unfortunately, players cant hit each other hard anymore. So that greatly diminishes his value as a safety with mediocre ball instincts. Thanks for the memories. Chris henry, wes welker, and willis mcgehee being 3 which quickly come to mind.

  • Carol Fischbach

    Instead of having a salary cap on players on the whole, why don’t they have a salary cap on rookies. They’re new, they’re immature amateurs (by pro standards) and they’re offered entirely too much.

  • Bernie B Roten

    Anyone who doesn’t agree with you or say flattering things while look at the Steelers through rose colored glasses should be banned? Look, I’m honest. Ben is heading toward the downslope of his career. It’s something all teams and QB’s deal with as they age and lose mobility. The really smart ones can get by much longer. As tough as Ben is he has never been a smart QB. He doesn’t read defenses very well and relies on his legs to extend plays. Typically, those type of QB’s don’t age well. Not trying to be negative. Just pointing out a reality.

  • r4kolb

    The “Dave should block you” comment was said tongue in cheek. That being said here is the, for the sake of not hurting your fragile feelings, kookiness of your invalid statement to which most if not all is WRONG. Listen everyone has an opinion and we all know what they say to that. However sometimes it’s not about opinions. It’s about facts. Here are the FACTS. Ben is heading toward the downslope of his career? Really? Some Stat FACTS
    2013 Passing YDs 4261…Comp%64.2…QB Rating 92
    2012 ” ” 3265… ” 63.3… ” 97
    2011 ” ” 4077… ” 63.2… ” 90
    2010 ” ” 3200… ” 61.7… ” 97
    So he passed for more yards then in the last 4 years
    His completion rate was the highest in the last 4 years
    His QB rating took a little hit but he had Adams protecting his blindside for 4 or 5 games or I’m sure that would have averaged out.
    So you see the FACTS say otherwise. Now onto your next incorrect comments because I really look at them as one in the same. His “smarts” and “He doesn’t read Defenses very well. Do you even watch the games? From day one the first thing I noticed and realized with Ben was his ability to go through his reads and check down to the open receiver. Every game almost every WR, TE, RB, has a reception. There is a reason for that. So your “Pointing out a reality” is in FACT fiction. One more thing as far as me wearing Black n Gold colored glasses, I’m sure there are many here whom will tell you I call it like I see it. Peace.

  • r4kolb

    As far as the Vet minimum, I think it’s because in the back of his mind he thinks he is going to be picked up as an analyst for ESPN. So now it’s a win win for him, if the Steelers think they need him they know it will take more then vet minimum. If not then he just let ESPN know his starting point for what he wants to be paid. Makes sense right?

  • Josh Knepshield

    Im guessing u failed math in high school. 32 teams equals 64 starting safeties plus another 8-10 who get significant snaps. Top 20 out of 74 safeties is pretty good idiot.