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Ryan Clark will retire before playing with a different Big Ben watching

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The outspoken Steelers safety said he'd retire before playing for a London-based NFL team.

Andy Lyons

This London thing is a one-time deal for Steelers safety Ryan Clark.

Appearing on ESPN, Ryan Clark said (as transcribed by Pro Football Talk) he'd retire before playing on a team based in London.

"That team would be asked to travel eight weeks of the season extremely far away," he said. "It would be extremely tough to ask. I don’t know if guys want to relocate their families, have their families educated in London, have their families relocate to London. It just seems like a hard deal for players to do. I can’t see unrestricted top notch top caliber free agents wanting to go to London to play football."

He isn't alone. Bengals offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth has previously said he wouldn't play, there, and Vikings defensive end Jared Allen recently turned down any hypothetical offer from a London-based team.

Just how serious is the NFL about putting a team in London, anyway? The international series is, unfortunately for the fans of the Steelers and Vikings, usually not a particularly well-played game. Well-attended, yes, assuming there's beer to be served. But considering the travel Clark is mentioning, the London-based team would have to either get a modified schedule that would allow them multiple home games in a row along with a road schedule that would give them a chance to set up shop somewhere in the states for a few weeks.

That seems a bit like an advantage other teams wouldn't have.

At the same time, though, the common perception in this issue is teams are required to fly commercially, boarding a United 747 and fly across the pond at 150 miles an hour. Teams charter their flights anyway, and leaving from the east coast on a jet, teams can touch down in approximately six hours.

That really isn't much longer of a flight than the one the Steelers will take to Oakland later this season.

Obviously this is operating under the assumption a team is interested in chartering a high-speed jet for the trip. It seems more like something the NFLPA may make a point to request in their sign-off of such a move.

No one mentioned anything about jets to Clark, though, and he just simply wouldn't play there. He probably won't have to again after this weekend.

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