The year 2013 may end up being known as the Summer of Ryan Clark.
The loquacious Steelers safety has done the media circuit, speaking on hot topics such as Tom Brady and the Steelers draft picks. It doesn't appear he's done yet, either. After seemingly making his desire for a contract extension with the Steelers public, he took to NFL Network's Around the League, speaking on the same topic.
"I've definitely let the team know I want to continue playing there," Clark told Around The League from NFL Network studios. "I'm also very comfortable with what's happened in my career and how long I've been able to play. I'm also actively working on setting things up for when I retire. Seeing what things I like to do and hopefully have those opportunities. I wouldn't necessarily say I'm concerned, but I would like to play. If I don't, I'm pretty happy how it went."
Obviously, any player will latch onto security in an otherwise insecure league. In that regard, it's hard to blame him. But all the talk about possible retirement? Clark has played at a Pro Bowl level the last two seasons, and if the Steelers end up releasing Clark, it would be largely - if not entirely - due to salary cap reasons. He'd pick up somewhere else very quickly.
The Steelers drafted Syracuse safety Shamarko Thomas in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, and have spent a year developing undrafted free agent Robert Golden. That's likely the top of their depth outside of Clark and Troy Polamalu. If Clark is to face the issues he's mentioning earlier than this time next year, it would be because the younger safeties the Steelers are developing are well ahead of the curve.
And in a complex defense, it doesn't seem likely that will be the case. It's not out of the question, but not impossible, either. Clark planting the seeds now for his career after football isn't a terrible idea, but even if he isn't in Pittsburgh in 2013, he will play if he wants to.