(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
Former Steelers free safety Ryan Clark has made a second career for himself after football as an NFL studio analyst for ESPN, and he's one of the best in the business at what he does. He's candid, blunt and brutally honest. Clark doesn't hold back when it comes to his analysis. He's going to tell you how it is, whether it's a positive or negative evaluation or opinion.
For his great work as an analyst, it was announced on Wednesday morning that ESPN signed Clark to a multi-year extension.
“Ryan elevates everything he is around -- including our productions, his colleagues, and the entire staff – with his infectious personality,” said Seth Markman, ESPN Vice President of Production. “While his on the field play and broadcasting talent put him on our radar years ago, during his time with us, he has quickly become one of our most important voices. He represents so much more than a former player to us: He is a great teammate, a family man, and respected member of the community. It is a great day for all of us that he will continue to be part of our family.”
“The reason I can be critical is because I’m very honest about who I am,” Clark told Joshua Axelrod of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I never sat at any desk and said I was [Hall of Fame Steelers safety] Troy Polamalu because I wasn’t. I was the guy who made sure Troy could do what he did. ... As long as I can back up what I say with film and statistics and experience, I can say whatever that film tells me.”
Clark also gave his honest opinion when Axelrod asked about his thoughts on the current Steelers team, saying that the Steelers are at a "decision-making point" when it comes to giving the soon-to-be 39-year-old Ben Roethlisberger another year at quarterback and whether that will set back the franchise’s Super Bowl aspirations.
"Pittsburgh is about team-building and championships,” Clark said. “Nobody cares if they make it to the wild card round. The reason they hung their hats on Sixburgh was because people in Pittsburgh and the organization care about being the best and about doing that the right way. I think they’ve kind of gotten away from the Steeler way and they need to find their way back.”
Despite his opinion on the current state of the Steelers, Clark is grateful for his time as a Steelers and knows that what he accomplished in Pittsburgh afforded him his current platform at ESPN.
“I know I don’t have this job and this opportunity if I wasn’t a Pittsburgh Steeler,” he said. “So I’m forever grateful.”