The Tribune-Review has reported that the Steelers have named Ryan Clark as the starting free safety going into mini-camp. After injuring his spleen against Denver, Clark was in serious trouble, far more serious than was known to the public.
Clark lost had both his spleen, then his gall bladder removed. His sickle cell trait was aggravated, he lost thirty pounds, and apparently was too weak to pick up his babies. Clark has apparently been given a clean bill of health, and he is fully recovered, save for ten more pounds that he needs to regain.
Steeler coaches say the move is based on their analysis of Clark’s performance prior to his injury. Doubtlessly, Clark was missed, but naming Clark the default starter also signals how deeply dissatisfied coaches must be with its current free safeties.
Let’s hope that Clark is indeed back to 100%. But he has been through a lot, and there is no guarantee he’ll will return to full strength. Although they’ve signed no one, the Steelers did work out three free agent free safeties. A number of mock drafts have them picking a corner in the first round, and if that happens Desha Townsend could be headed to safety.