With the Steelers finished second in the AFC North and heading to Denver for a wild-card playoff game, it’s possible that the Steelers won’t have starting safety Ryan Clark.
In 2007, Clark lost his spleen, his gall bladder, and 30 pounds after the combination of a sickle-cell trait and playing football at a high altitude trigger a blood reaction. “The first speech I got from the doctors in the hospital was that my lungs had filled, my kidneys were dented and my stomach was closing,” Clark told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the following year. “My spleen had gotten enlarged and infected and it died.”
When the Broncos returned in 2009, Clark didn’t play. Though at one point it appeared to be Clark’s decision as to whether or not he would play, Clark said that coach Mike Tomlin wouldn’t allow it.
After Sunday’s win over the Browns, Tomlin said that a decision on Clark’s status will be made this week, via Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
UPDATE 10:23 p.m. ET: The Steelers have forwarded to PFT the specific answer provided after the game by coach Mike Tomlin as to Clark’s status. “We’re going to meet with the doctors at some point tomorrow or Tuesday,” Tomlin said. “It’s a discussion. Last time we went we exercised some precaution. We chose not to play him, but we worked him out extensively to see how he responded to that. We gathered information and data in that regard. Now we get an opportunity to utilize that. Now we will put some heads together. When I am talking about heads I am talking about medical experts, not myself. We’ll see what the medical experts have to say and then we’ll go from there.”