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Ryan Clark Will Take Time To Decide Future

Posted Jan 2, 2015

After completing his 13th NFL season, Ryan Clark said he'll take the next few weeks to decide what he wants to do with his career moving forward.

It’s something all football players have to go through, especially those who have logged serious mileage: "Will there be another season for me?"

It hasn’t been any different for Ryan Clark at the conclusion of the past few seasons.

Clark returned to the Redskins in 2014 with an opportunity to provide the organization with a veteran leader who has experienced playoff football and has a ring on his finger to represent what it takes to reach to the pinnacle.

Having just completed his 13th NFL season, Clark admitted he still wants to play, but that he also understands that at some point he’ll have to hang up his pads for good.

Will 2014 mark the end of his playing career?

That depends on numerous factors. As for retirement and ending his career on his on terms, though, he’ll decide on that over the next two weeks or so.

“I don’t know when everybody else is going to know whether or not I want to play,” he said. “Everybody else will know eventually. I’m sure it’ll come across the Twitter page. It’ll be no press conferences for me, nothing to talk about. I’ll just ride off into the sunset.”

After last Sunday’s season finale against the Dallas Cowboys, Clark said there were “no tears, no theatrics, none of that,” because the emotion when he is no longer playing will come when training camps across the league start up.

“When you retire, when you sign those papers and you know never get another opportunity to do it, then the emotions come,” he said. “I would have to think that those emotions come more in late July, early August, when you got a ton friends who are getting ready to go play football and you’re not suiting up. I think that’ll be the time that it really hits you that you’re not doing it anymore.”

Signed by the Redskins on April 1, Clark would appear in 16 games with 15 starts in 2014, recording more than 100 tackles in the process.

But, for any personal success he may have accomplished, in the end he’s home this weekend while the playoffs are starting up.

“You don’t come here to play regular seasons,” Clark told the media during exit interviews. “You come here to try to win championships. So in no way, shape or form would I say I’m glad it’s over.”

While Clark was one of just two defensive backs to appear in all 16 games this season — rookie cornerback Bashaud Breeland being the other — he was also leaned on to help positively influence a youthful secondary.

As a group, the defensive backs and safeties had to mature and do a lot of learning on the fly. Clark said he “learned a lot about these guys” as the season went on.

“I watched some of these kids grow up,” he said. “You got to see Breeland, you got to see Phillip Thomas, I got to see 17 different new football players on defense get out there and have a good time. I enjoyed every second of it.”  

As the Redskins enter a critical juncture attempting to climb out of a hole in which they’ve won only seven games over the last two seasons, Clark believes head coach Jay Gruden will take that next step in getting the most out of his players.

“I think Jay understands players, he understands keeping players fresh,” Clark said. “He understands the way you have to deal with the ego of NFL players, and I think that bodes well anytime you get an opportunity to coach a team and he loves it. …I expect Jay to make a huge jump from what he was at the beginning of last year to what he’ll be at the beginning of next year.”

RELATED LINKS:
-- Jay Gruden Reflects On 2014 Season, Ready For ‘15
-- Robinson Using Offseason To Benefit Growth

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