Ryan Clark’s status up in the air for playoff game in Denver

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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.”

27 responses to “Ryan Clark’s status up in the air for playoff game in Denver

  1. Don’t play, sickle cell is nothing to fool with. Take care of yourself. The Steelers will eat Denver alive.

  2. mvpolamalu January 1, 2012, 7:08 PM CST

    Dont play. Life is more important than football.


    I almost never agree with the things you say on here, but this one I do.

    You have other things to do in life instead of a wild-card playoff game. Don’t risk your internal organs for it

  3. I have always thought the steelers to be a good/classy organization.

    This is a no brainer decission. I guess we will see what the steeler organization is about.

  4. I hope Clark does not play.Why put your life on the line over a football game ?He can rest this game because they are playing Tim Tebow that wont be doing anything.

  5. Don’t play! We need you when we play the patriots or ravens in the divisional round. Tebow sucks so we don’t desperately need you anyways

  6. It’s the sudden change in altitude that triggers the sickle cell. Maybe try to travel (by vehicle) a couple of days early to adjust to the altitude slowly.

  7. Stay safe buddy we’ll get the job done, looking forward to seeing you in divisional round. Still my favourite player you owe us nothing. Health is more important period.

  8. I feel sorry for the people who are thumbs downing comments that say “Life is more important than football.”

  9. Had forgotten about this health issue for Ryan. I don’t mind losing the bye, but this is another reason home-field advantage is so important. It’s not worth the risk for Ryan to play in this game. I don’t think he should even travel there with the team.

  10. I see the broncos actually winning a close one here. Pitt seems top be having trouble scoring so the broncos may keep this close enough for some Tebow magic, especially if Rothlsumphin’s ankle acts up.

  11. The Steelers are going no where. Why risk having Clark seriously injured? The Steelers will need him to deliver helmet to helmet shots next year. They should have sat Rothlesberger as it was obvious the Ravens would win out. They should now sit Clark as the Steelers are going nowhere. However, next year…they will be one more year older.

  12. Clark will want to play, but Tomlin will take the decision out of his hands. And like last time, Clark will be monitored by UPMC doctors who will use their findings to help other people with sickle cell.

    Although this does make me wonder why he let Ben make the decision to play, but I guess season-ending and life-ending are really different.

  13. If Denver actually threw the ball this would be of concern for the Steelers. Ryan Mundy will fill in just fine next week.

  14. Everyone forgets, Clark played in Denver, without incident when he was with the Redskins. I seem to remember something else, combined with the altitude change, triggered his sickness.

  15. God shared with me that Tebow would struggle as long as he promoted the company named after the pagan goddess of victory… NIKE.
    I shared this with Tebow and his family… and I was told to be quiet by someone representing him.
    You see… Satan came up with the pagan goddess NIKE many years ago to take honor away from God. NIKE has been worshipped as the pagan goddess of victory… but that is a lie of the devil.
    God is the only God who should be worshipped period… and He should be honored for Victory because of the Victory He gave us through Jesus Christ!
    Tebow has promoted products honoring the name of the pagan goddess NIKE… while promoting products honoring the Name of the Son of God… Jesus Christ.
    God is NOT happy!
    God even says in His Word… “Be sure to do all that I have said to you. You must not even say the names of other gods; those names must not come out of your mouth.” – Exodus 23:13
    And on 1-1… you saw what happened to Tebow.
    Here’s another 1 that Tebow should pay attention to:
    Commandment 1…
    “You shall have no other gods before me.”
    Exodus 20:3 (God’s Word)
    Tim… I am your brother trying to get you to obey God.
    God was kind enough to warn you through me…
    it’s time to drop NIKE and be blessed for honoring God.

  16. owtkast3 says: Jan 1, 2012 10:30 PM

    @timtheen, you ever heard of a guy named polamalu? Clark is good but he isnt #43
    Clark has covered for the hair’s mistakes…er… what do the announcers call it… his “instincts” all year.

  17. @ the fiesty1:

    It’s not the altitude; it’s the THINNER OXYGEN at higher altitudes. Avoiding flying makes no difference; jet planes are pressurized. Sickle-shaped red blood cells carry less oxygen and in higher altitudes, there’s even less oxygen, plus the tendency of dehydration in those circumstances.

  18. @timtheen

    get real man. you would love to have Troy on whatever pathetic squad it is follow. Please stop being sucha tooltroll. Steeler fans have the playoffs to focus on. No need for you and your offseason to make comments on here. Thanks for you ignorant opinion. Clark is heck of a ballplayer, but he is not on the same tier as Troy. He does compliment him in the defensive backfield very well though. Take a look at the production of our secondary when we lost Troy for multiple games. It was very ugly and sad. Goes to show you how Troy helped display dominance for our defense. But, now with the #1 pass D, I say keep Ryan Clark home. Rest up and get him back for a nice game against New England or Baltimore.

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