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fordfixer
11-12-2009, 03:14 AM
Steelers' Clark would've played if it were his choice
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09315/1012609-100.stm

Safety Ryan Clark said if it were up to him, he would have played in Denver Monday night but that he's happy coach Mike Tomlin made that decision for him.

"I would have played," Clark said today. "That just means he's smarter than I am because obviously I'm standing here right now, no ill effects at all."

Clark lost his gall bladder, his spleen and more than 30 pounds when he played in Denver two years ago. Doctors deduced that his playing in the high altitude combined with his sickle cell trait and another underlying medical issue caused the reaction in his body.

Clark said he learned of Tomlin's decision late in the week but had an inkling of it when he did not take many repetitions with the first-team defense in practice.

"I think it was as smart move by coach," Clark said. "I appreciated the fact that he did take it out of my hands. It kind of gave me a way to breathe either way. I didn't feel like I was cleared to play and I just chose not to because Coach Tomlin made the decision, and also if I do play and get sick I couldn't live with that either. So I do appreciated what he did and now it's time to move on."

Clark did exert himself in pregame drills, running sprints and other exercises so doctors could test his body's reaction. He said he passed all those tests.

"No ill effects at all," Clark said. "Worked out before the game, got a lot of tests run just so we could have more information how my body would react without a spleen and a gall bladder."

And if the Steelers have to go to Denver for a playoff game, what then?

"I'm not sure," Clark said. "We haven't really talked about it but we won the game so I don't plan on us going out here anyway. We're just going to try to win the rest of them so I don't have to go out there and play."

Tyrone Carter, who replaced Clark at free safety, was named today as the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. Carter intercepted two Kyle Orton passes and returned one for a 48 yard touchdown.