Thursday, June 19, 2014

Clark makes his retirement official

Livermore native, TRV graduate ends NFL career

June 18, 2014

By The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS - Dallas Clark never took his eyes off the screen as a video tribute played highlights from his time in Indianapolis.

The standout tight end retired from the NFL after 11 seasons Wednesday and when he stepped to the podium at the team's practice facility, he could hardly keep his composure.

"Obviously you should have showed the video afterward," Clark said after taking a long pause to gather himself. "My wife told me to keep it lighthearted. I just don't know how to do that because this place and these fans and everyone here mean so much to me."

Tight end Dallas Clark played 11 seasons in the NFL, including nine with the Indianapolis Colts.

The Livermore native and Twin River Valley graduate retired as a member of the Colts, the team that drafted him in the first round in 2003. It's the place where he won a Super Bowl with Peyton Manning in 2006 and spent the first nine years of his career.

The former Iowa Hawkeye All-American played for Baltimore last season and for Tampa Bay in 2012. He was released by the Colts in 2011 after the team finished 2-14 and missed the playoffs for the first time in 10 years.

Clark signed with Indy just long enough to announce his retirement, though Colts owner Jim Irsay wisecracked that there was no signing bonus this time.

Fact Box


1997: Graduated from Twin River Valley High School.

1998: Redshirted at the University of Iowa after joining team as a walk-on.

2000: Earned Hawkeye Coaches Appreciation Award for special teams.

2001: Honorable mention all-Big Ten by league coaches and media.

2002: Started all 13 games at tight end. First-team all-Big Ten pick. Unanimous All-American. Had a 95-yard touchdown reception against Purdue, the longest pass play in Kinnick Stadium history and the second longest pass play ever for Iowa. Winner of John Mackey Award as nation's best tight end. Walter Camp Foundation first-team All-American.

2003: Drafted 24th overall in the first round by the Indianapolis Colts. Had one catch for 18 yards in his NFL debut against the Cleveland Browns. Football Digest NFL all-rookie team.

2006: Caught 21 passes for 317 yards in three playoff games, helping the Colts to their first Super Bowl berth - a 29-17 victory over the Chicago Bears - since moving to Indianapolis.

2007: Shattered John Mackey's Colts' tight end record for receptions (58) in a season.

2008: Broke the single-season franchise mark for yards receiving (848) by a tight end.

2009: Posted 100 catches for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns in leading Colts to another Super Bowl appearance. Pro Bowl selection.

Also: Clark ranks No. 1 in club history with 427 receptions and 46 touchdowns, and No. 2 with 4,887 yards and seven 100-yard games during the regular season.

Clark closed his career with 505 receptions, 5,665 yards and 53 touchdowns in 143 games. Just fifth tight end in NFL history with at least 500 receptions, 5,000 yards and 50 TDs, joining Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, Jason Witten and Shannon Sharpe.

Clark ranks No. 6 in league history in TD catches, tied for No. 8 in receptions and No. 15 in yards.

Clark amassed 64 receptions for 847 yards in 13 playoff games, both NFL records for a tight end.

"There's a lot more meaning behind it than numbers," he said. "It's really a great moment when you have a chance to have somebody come back to town."

Clark is Indy's all-time leader in tight end touchdown catches (46) and receptions (427). He finished second in yards receiving (4,887) and 100-yard games (seven). Clark set single season records with the Colts with 100 receptions and 1,106 yards in the 2009 season. In 2007, he had 11 TD catches.

The Colts won at least 12 games for seven consecutive seasons and made eight straight playoff appearances leading up to Clark's final season in Indy, before his release and the release of other veterans, including Manning.

"You can't write this, you can't make this up," Clark said as he thanked everyone from team doctors and equipment staff, to former Colts coach Tony Dungy and former team President Bill Polian, who drafted him with Indy's first-round pick in 2003.

"Nothing but love," he said to a crowd that included Reggie Wayne, Robert Mathis and Adam Vinatieri. "For us to go do what we do, there's so many people. I'm not going to stand here and think I did it myself because that would be a boldface lie."

Wayne was drafted by Indy in 2001 and played alongside Clark each year he was with the Colts.

"From day one, he came in with a mission and focused in on it and he locked in on it and within that first year, he came in and made some plays and I knew he was going to be major, major contributor to this offense," Wayne said. "He was that last piece of the puzzle and without Dallas, I don't think we win as many games as we did."

Clark got emotional when thanking the teammates he's had throughout his career.

"When you have 52 men in the locker room giving everything that they have for one goal, special things happen," he said. "For us, we won like it was like, that's what you do. Until I went to other places, it was like, not everyone gets it. Not everyone can do what we did. That's the reason why it was so special.

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