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.