In the wake of yesterday’s news of Dallas Clark returning to Indy to retire as a Colt tomorrow, we’re doing a throwback Stat of the Day and just a Dallas Clark tribute in general.
Clark was drafted 24th overall in 2003, a year many fans and analysts felt the Colts needed a defensive player. The speedy linebacker-turned-tight-end from Iowa looked like a luxury for an already loaded offense, but he contributed right away, catching 29 passes for 340 yards and a touchdown (solid tight end numbers, though we in Indianapolis have been spoiled recently by the production of a pair of more heavily-utilized young tight ends).
Clark would average 426 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 22 first downs over the next three years, struggling some with his catch rate, before going on a tear from 2007-2009:
2007 58 catches on 101 targets, 616 yds, 11 TDs, 37 1st downs
2008 77 catches on 107 targets, 848 yds, 6 TDs, 41 1st downs
2009 100 catches on 132 targets, 1,106 yards, 10 TDs, 59 1st downs
Clark’s 2009 season earned him a +16.9 grade from Pro Football Focus, and 2010 began with more of the same great production from the veteran tight end, averaging 6 catches for 58 yards per game trough Week 6 (on pace for 96 catches and 928 yards) before an injury and subsequent wrist surgery sidelined him for the season.
After that, he remained a solid tight end when healthy, including a 47 catch, 435-yard season in Tampa Bay in 2012.
Following a good, albeit quiet, year in in Baltimore, Clark is ready to hang up his cleats, and in the only place that makes sense to do so. While in Indy, he amassed 4,887 of his 5,665 career yards and gave Colts fans (and teammates, I’m sure) a multitude of great memories along the way.
Easily, one of my favorites was a first down catch against tight coverage in the 06/07 playoffs against Baltimore, to wrap up a 15-6 win, that would eventually help propel the Colts to a Super Bowl Victory. Feel free to share your favorite Dallas Clark memory in the comments below.
Meanwhile, for you reminiscing pleasure, is a highlight reel of Dallas Clark being awesome. Note the broken tackle against the Dolphins around the broken tackle around the 3:08 mark, quickly followed by Reggie Wayne blowing up a linebacker to help spring Clark for a long touchdown. Ah, what fun it has been to watch this guy play: