You may have heard something about Steelers safety Ryan Clark knocking Patriots wideout Wes Welkerthrough the Gillette Stadium turf on Sunday. Opinions vary as to the legality of the hit (by the letter of the rules, it was a penalty -- don't kill the messenger, just saying), and there used to be a time in the NFL when hard tackles didn't automatically result in a flag and a subsequent fine.
But as Troy Polamalurightly pointed out in October, football "just loses so much of its essence when it becomes like a pansy game." Yes, yes it does. In any event, Clark was apologetic after the game.
"The ball got tipped; [the official] said I shouldn't have left my feet. But I don't really know how to control that. I talked to Kevin Faulk and some other guys, I told them I apologize. I couldn't find Welker after the game to tell him I wasn't trying to be dirty, it was just football."
Clark makes a good point; hitting Welker wouldn't have been a penalty if he hadn't left his feet, but that's a lot easier said than done. It's one thing to write it into the rule book, it's something else entirely to expect a 190-pound defender running full speed to be able to pull off, what with the laws of physics being immutable and all that.
"They said don't leave your feet," Clark said the officials told him. "If anybody watches the other games we played, I don't turn any of them down. It's not like I'm trying to be cheap. If anybody comes across, it's my job to tackle him, it's my job to hit him.
Clark isn't known as a dirty player -- in fact, just the opposite -- and I'm guessing a lot of football fans appreciate the way he plays. But if the league fines LaMarr Woodley $10,000 for this, then Clark's about to be made an example of.
Ryan Clark Is Sorry for Almost Putting a Hole in Wes Welker originally appeared on NFL FanHouse on Tue, 02 Dec 2008 11:00:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.