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Ryan Clark confirms he is retiring from the NFL

One of the stalwarts of the Steelers late-2000's revisitation to the Steel Curtain is hanging up his cleats.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Clark who spent much of his time in the last few months as an analyst for ESPN will join the crew permanently, as he announced his retirement from professional football on Wednesday.

As a member of the Giants, Redskins and Steelers Clark's career spanned 13 seasons, although the best of which ran from 2006-2013 when Clark was a member of Pittsburgh.  Clark and Polamalu gave the Steelers one of the league's best safety tandems, as Clark played 109 games with Pittsburgh.  Additionally, Clark suited up for six playoff games, including two Super Bowls, with the former Louisiana State University product collecting a ring in Super Bowl XLIII.

Clark was well-known for his ferocious hits and reckless abandon, earning the respect and admiration of the Pittsburgh faithful.  He was a Pro Bowl selection in 2011 and many wondered how the 2011 Wild card game might have played out differently had Clark been on the field.  Clark suffers from sickle cell anemia, a disease which prevented him from traveling with the Steelers to their 2011 Wildcard match-up with thew Denver Broncos, as the thin air had caused complications the last time he traveled to Denver in 2007.  Without Clark, the Steelers watched as Demaryius Thomas galloped into the end zone for a game-ending 80-yrd touchdown on the first play of overtime and long-forgotten Tim Tebow finished with a 300 yard passing game.

Clark signed a one-year deal with the Washington Redskins last offseason and performed well, starting 15 games for the woeful Redskins while picking off a pass and collecting 68 tackles.

Clark will retire as a member of the Steelers.