Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark has been playing hurt since late August, he told the media after the team’s 35-32 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
“I’ve been playing kind of timid this whole season,” Clark said, via Nate Taylor of The Athletic, after the game. “That’s why I’ve been kind of slow. I’ve had a pinched nerve since the end of training camp. I’ve been playing through it. It just got to a point where the s— was so serious, it was sending burning sensations down my arm. My f—ing two fingers was going numb. I had to take precautions, get checked out and make sure everything that I was doing football-wise wasn’t going to affect my life after football.”
Clark appeared on the team’s Week 2 injury report, which cited his neck, but he practiced fully that whole week before playing against the Oakland Raiders. The next time Clark appeared on an injury report was Week 8, following the Chiefs’ Thursday Night Football game against the Denver Broncos.
#Chiefs pass-rusher Frank Clark, out tonight with a neck injury, is considered week-to-week, source said. That means he could be out more than this week, though KC is hopeful it’s not long-term. Either way, he’s been battling this and somehow has been playing.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 27, 2019
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said that Clark “was OK” to finish the Broncos game but his neck was “acting up a little bit.” Clark missed Weeks 8 and 9 due to the neck injury and was back on the field against the Titans on Sunday.
“I’m a football player at the end of the day,” said Clark, via Taylor. “So I’m going to play through everything. If they tell me I can go, I’m going to go. The s— is just frustrating, man. You don’t want to be hurt and deal with shit that involves nerves. That’s the nature of the game.”
Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was asked about whether Clark was healthy back on October 14 ahead of the Chiefs’ Week 7 game.
“Well, you’d have to ask him,” said Spagnuolo at the time. “He’s a warrior, so he goes. But I’d be willing to say there’s a lot of guys out there with a nick and a bruise and a bump and they’re fighting through things. You could see it on the sidelines — guys hang in there and they keep going. I’m proud of him in that regard.”
Clark, who signed a five-year $104 million ($63.2 million guaranteed) deal with the Chiefs in April, has 21 tackles (15 solo) and 4.0 sack on the season. Clark had four tackles, a sack and a pass defensed against the Titans.
The Chiefs traded their 2019 first-round pick and a 2020 second-round pick to acquire Clark from the Seattle Seahawks.