Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark missed the games against the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings with what was described as a neck injury. After being listed as questionable in Friday’s final injury report due to being limited in all of last week’s practice sessions, it was a surprise that he was active for Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans.
For Clark, getting back on the field couldn’t come soon enough.
“I don’t like missing games,” he told reporters on Thursday. “I’m a football player. I like going out there and being with my boys as much as possible. It hurt me when I wasn’t able to be out there.
“When you’re on the sideline, you want to be in the game so badly,” he explained. “You’re killing yourself. You see what your team is going through. You see the pain they’re going through — whether it’s win, lose or draw — and you want to share that pain with them. At the end of the day, when you’re not able to be out there, it affects you. You’re in here working hard. It pushes you to want to work harder. It pushes you to want to get in the film work.”
Clark ended up playing 40 of the team’s 50 defensive snaps in the loss to the Titans, collecting four solo tackles (one for loss) a sack, a quarterback hit and a pass defensed. And he says he feels good as the Chiefs prepare to play the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football.
“I’m getting stronger, man... getting stronger,” he said. “My whole career, I feel like I’ve gotten stronger toward the end of the season; that’s usually been the makeup of my story my whole career. I feel good.”
If that’s indeed the case, it would be welcome news for Chiefs fans. After the loss to the Titans last weekend, Clark said that he has been dealing with pain from a pinched nerve since training camp — and his production during the first half of the season has been a disappointment.
But for now, the first order of business is the upcoming game against the Chargers — and Clark says what the defense needs to do is simple.
“Be more aggressive, capitalize on opportunities when they’re there and not [make] mental mistakes. We had 10 men on the field on one of the plays last week. I take part of the blame for that, being one of the leaders on the team on the substitutions and stuff. And then just making plays. As a defense, we have to make plays.
“We had eight missed tackles in the last game,” Clark added. “A lot of those went for first-down conversions. Going against running backs nowadays, you’ve got to make plays on these running backs. Some of the best running backs in the game makes their best plays after they get hit — after contact. Playing against a guy like Melvin Gordon going into this week, he’s a guy that wants to show off; he’s coming back after missing the first half of the season. I’m sure he wants to have a great game. What better place to do it than Mexico City?”