Below is an interview with Ryan Clark and Mike Logan that aired on The Drive on 1250 ESPN Pittsburgh this afternoon. Clark specifically wanted to call Logan - who he says he feels comfortable talking to - to clear the air about how contract negotiations are going with him and the Steelers. Well, apparently nowhere because, according to Clark, there has been no offer whatsoever made to Clark, not even a low-ball offer that he might have to consider passing on at his age.
I've transcribed the portion of the interview below. I'll let you form your own judgments, but I will say that it's worth listening to Clark speak passionately rather than merely reading the transcription. On the one hand, it's apparent Clark really wants to remain in Pittsburgh, to be shown love by the Steelers organization. On the other, Clark's passionate demeanor seems to occasionally make him abrasive or overly intense/aggressive in his characterizations. Remember him lashing out at the media and Steelers fans last season when the team was on it's mid-season slide?
Anyway, here's how I see it as of today. If the organization has truly not offered Clark any sort of deal and have already opted not to use the transition tag on Clark for the 2010 season, then the organization must have their eye on some free agent out there that they're willing to pay for. I suppose they could also be eying some high draft pick to play significant time right away alongside Polamalu, but that seems a bit less likely considering the mental demands necessary at that position.
We'll see. I love Clark when he's playing with #43. Regardless of what happens, I'll remember him fondly for the role he played on our nasty 2008 defense, and for the all-out abandon he played with every time he took the field for the Steelers.
Here's the quotes I found most intriguing, followed by a link to the entire interview.
"To be honest with you guys, I haven't had an offer yet. Nothing put to paper or even said verbally. You know, we want to get this deal done. I've bent over backwards to get it done. You hear so much you being a priority and things like that, and if you think about it, there's been a number of guys who've signed contracts, and I haven't been offered one. There's been Heath Miller, Justin Hartwig, Brett Keisel, Casey, Jeff. So it's not like it was one guy got signed, the well ran dry and there was nothing they can do. It hasn't been that, so if you think about priorities and prioritizing, I was way down on the list."
"I'm going to ask the $6.5, $7 million a year - I wouldn't do that. I know how much Troy makes, and I know how much respect I have for Troy as a player and how much I love him as a friend. I don't see myself as Troy, I don't see myself as having to get that type of paid. So it's not a situation of me saying you gotta pay me how Troy's being paid. I'd be a fool to do that."
"You know, they showed their level of commitment to Jeff, even though it's one year. $2.8 million dollars. Heath Miller, Justin Hartwig - all these guys have been shown some type of love that says 'you know what, we want you here. We're willing to work to get you here.' I haven't gotten that. I'm frustrated and the reason I agreed to come on, but also to do it to someone I was close to, was because I felt like some things needed to be cleared up."
"I'm specifically saying I'm not asking for $6.5 - $7 million dollars. It's not a situation to where people were saying where they didn't transition tag him because they don't feel like he's worth that much, he's not going to get paid that much. Well, we didn't ask for that much. It's not a situation where we're being unreasonable, or I'm being unreasonable. I want to be here, my family likes it here. I want to finish playing with Troy. Some of my best friends are on this team and in this city. But right now, what I'm saying is it's not in my hands."