Steelers safety Ryan Clark was a frequent and outspoken critic of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the league’s emphasis on player safety in 2011.
It started when Clark, Pittsburgh’s NFLPA rep, was involved in the team’s decision to vote against the new CBA because it handed Goodell the power to play judge, jury and executioner when it came to player discipline and continued through Clark’s suggestion that he “might as well” go after other players’ knees if the league is going to levy fines for hits Clark feels are clean. According to Clark, we aren’t going to hear anything like that this season.
Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that Clark is going to tone down his rhetoric in this area during the 2012 season. Clark feels that his comments brought negative attention to the Steelers and that the perception of the team “was starting to be tainted.”
“Some of the attention that you draw when the statements you make are against the people who make the rules, I think it makes it harder on your team,” Clark said. “When it starts to affect the way your team is viewed, when it starts affecting the perception of your organization, you have to look at it and understand the greater good.”
General Manager Kevin Colbert said that the team had nothing to do with Clark’s decision to take a more measured approach to these matters this season, but they probably didn’t have much argument with it either. There was a steady stream of invective coming out of Pittsburgh last season that made it hard to separate legitimate gripes from garden variety complaining from players who seemed to want to do whatever they wanted on the field.