Chiefs’ Frank Clark arrives at camp with new outlook on lifeSports

st. JOSEPH, Missouri (AP) — Frank Clark arrived at his camp last month training with the Kansas City Chiefs.

his attitude? It was also good.

The change in appearance and demeanor was a byproduct of the decision Clark, 29, made to clean up his life shortly after last season. He cut out alcohol, which has gotten him into trouble in the past, and red meat and sugar, which packed about 15 pounds into his 250-pound body and radically altered his performance.

Clark has never been so satisfied with his sense of purpose and direction since he entered the University of Michigan.

“At some point, you have to grow up,” he explained. I have her 6 year old daughter and I look to daddy to make the right decisions. You can’t afford to get drunk, miss a time or date, or miss something important. There are many important things in this life. ”

Most pressingly in his eighth NFL season, Clark bounced back from a disappointing year where he managed just 4 1/2 sacks against one of the worst defenses in the league when it came to pressure on quarterbacks. I’m trying

Clarke was named to the Pro Bowl three years in a row, and it was an honor to hear a vaguely hollow voice. The Chiefs gave Cincinnati a huge lead at halftime in his AFC Championship Game, and it was a chilly January night when Clark said he couldn’t harass quarterback Joe He couldn’t harass Burrow. It was a big reason why I ended up playing in the pointless All-Star Game instead of the Bowl.

Still, it was a fitting conclusion to a difficult year for Clarke on and off the field.

It started when Clark, who was traded from Seattle to Kansas City in 2019, was arrested twice on gun-related charges during the 2021 offseason. He has pleaded not guilty and the case has yet to be resolved, but Clark hopes some sort of resolution will come soon this week. He missed three of those games with a hamstring injury and didn’t pick up his first sack until Week 8 against the New York Giants.

“When you’re going through everything I’ve been through, it’s been hard as hell,” Clark admitted. “You know everything I’ve been through. I face it as a man. You have to. It’s the only way you can grow from anything.”

Evidence of that self-improvement was important to the Chiefs. The Chiefs weren’t sure Clarke would be a formidable and productive pass rusher in Seattle, where he recorded 13 sacks and 10 tackles for his losses during the 2018 season.

In fact, Chiefs coach Andy Reed met with Clarke after the season to tell him the truth.

“He said, ‘I know what type of player you are. You know what type of player you are. You haven’t shown that this season,'” Clark recalled. rice field. We’re going to keep it real with each other.

However, Clark still needed a give and take to return to the Chiefs.

The five-year, $105 million contract he signed after arriving in Kansas City left him with a massive salary-cap hit heading into next season, but the Chiefs are due to release him after the 2021 season. , most of which could have been avoided. Most people saw the underfunded Chiefs and thought they would let him go the easy way.

But the move would have only exacerbated rather than solved their pass rushing problem. As such, the Chiefs and Clark managed to restructure his contract, lower his salary cap number, and keep him in the fold.

“Frank would say he was his own worst enemy in the past,” Chiefs general manager Brett Beach said. “But whether it was when we brought him here for the first time in ’19, or when he detoxed his body here and came back in really good shape, he’s always been very charismatic. There is, and it’s tied to that team mentality.

That mentorship was evident throughout the first two weeks of training camp.

To bolster their pass rush, the Chiefs selected Purdue defensive end George Karrafutis in the first round of the draft. And within a few days, after almost every practice, Karlaftis joined Clarke for some additional work.

“He’s trapped. This is the most trapped him I’ve ever seen,” said fellow defensive end Mike Dana, who approached Clarke given their common alma mater. “He integrates and communicates everyone. The whole line works together. That’s the fastest way to success. I have.”

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Chiefs’ Frank Clark arrives at camp with new outlook on lifeSports

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