Monday, November 03, 2014

Catching up with Dallas Clark

Former Iowa, NFL tight end greets fans before Saturday’s game

Former Iowa and retired NFL tight end Dallas Clark signs autographs and takes pictures with fans before Saturday’s Iowa football game against Northwestern. (The Gazette)

By Scott Dochterman

NOVEMBER 1, 2014

IOWA CITY — Dallas Clark was bombarded for autographs for nearly 90 minutes Saturday morning, and the former NFL tight end loved every minute of it.

Clark, who retired this summer after 11 years, took pictures and signed everything from jerseys to towels with a smile on his face. The 35-year-old currently resides in Indianapolis but plans to relocate to his home area in north central Iowa.

“We’re going to get back to Iowa,” Clark said. “We’re going to make this home. (Indianapolis is) a great town with a lot of great friends. It’s still ... Iowa’s home. There’s nothing like that.”

Clark was a first-team All-American at Iowa in 2002 and won the Mackey Award as the nation’s best tight end. Indianapolis drafted him in the first round of the 2003 draft, and he caught 505 passes for 5,665 yards and 53 touchdowns in his career. He played nine seasons in Indianapolis, one year for Tampa Bay and finished his career last year in Baltimore. He played in two Super Bowls and won one.

Clark said he’s enjoying retirement but it was an adjustment.

“It wasn’t until week one where the games started that it just seemed real ..., ‘Well, all right, I’m watching these guys play,’” he said. “At some point it’s always going to be like that, so as much as you prepare, it still is weird. But you look back and realize it’s a great run and I played with a great people and a lot of great coaches and great organizations. No complaints at all.”

Clark left Iowa early to come out for the NFL draft but returned to school to earn his degree in early 2007. It just happened to coincide with the Colts’ Super Bowl championship that season.

“Horrible timing there,” Clark said with a laugh. “When I came out early, I kind of made a promise to myself that no matter what happens, I’d come back and get my degree. It just so happened that it was the same year we won the Super Bowl. It was even more weird being on campus at that time. It was good, especially for my kids growing up that I have it. It was important.”

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