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Breakfast with Benz

Tim Benz: Ex-Steeler turned 'media turd' Ryan Clark awesome on Antonio Brown situation

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, 6:15 a.m.
Former Steelers safety Ryan Clark said he isn’t “bitter” the Steelers didn’t re-sign him and that wide receiver Antonio Brown isn’t “smart enough” to realize what a good teammate Clark was.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Former Steelers safety Ryan Clark said he isn’t “bitter” the Steelers didn’t re-sign him and that wide receiver Antonio Brown isn’t “smart enough” to realize what a good teammate Clark was.

I have never been shy about referencing my dislike for Ryan Clark, at least while he played for the Steelers.

Actually, when he first came to the club as a free agent safety in 2006, I liked talking to him a lot. He was outgoing, informative, occasionally funny.

That soured the year after the Steelers won the 2008 Super Bowl. The team rolled downhill in 2009 and missed the playoffs. Clark didn't like criticism as times went bad.

It remains incredibly ironic to me that Clark is now a working member of the media — with ESPN — given the disdain he showed toward those in the business during his playing days. He went so far as to call those covering the team "turds" in 2009 and almost got into a physical altercation with one media member at a 2011 training camp interview session in Latrobe.

However, of the many former NFL players who have become talking heads, Clark has been the best "turd" of the bunch when it comes to discussing the Antonio Brown situation.

Dare I say, he's been "turdtastic."

Clark has been unafraid to share firsthand accounts from the locker room illustrating how much of a disruptive diva Brown was, dating to 2012. He appropriately stood up for himself when another former Steeler, DeAngelo Williams, was critical of him sharing that information. Clark also has been bold enough to rebuff the social pressure to side with Brown based on race.

In other words, Clark has done a lot of the things many former players are afraid to do once they get into the analyst chair. He's been honest, transparent, insightful, unabashed and unbiased ... as hopefully you can tell I'm trying to be, my personal feelings about Clark aside.

Beyond that, Clark has been something else. He's been right.

OK, for the most part.

Take a minute to watch this exchange Clark had on ESPN's "First Take" with Stephen A. Smith.

Clark nails it. Brown was disrespectful. A lousy teammate. The Steelers should try to move him. It was shameful how Brown acted before game day against Cincinnati and then during it. Mink coat and all.

Clark is wrong about one major thing, though. At the end of his comments, he discusses the prospect of sitting down Brown and telling him "marks he has to hit as far as behavior" and for making him "comply" or else "he won't be here" as a Steeler.

Why bother? Who cares? Brown doesn't. He's already broached the prospect of a trade twice this season. He doesn't care if he's here. He wants out. That threat isn't going to resonate with this guy.

Plus, continuing to ask Brown to mature is fruitless. I'll say it again: Telling Antonio Brown to "grow up" is like telling me to "grow taller."

I can keep wishing both will happen. Neither will.

This Brown saga is going to drag on for months. Here's to hoping Clark continues being a real "turd" about it because he's been good at it so far.

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