As the Kansas City Chiefs try to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl for the third consecutive season, they will try to navigate the challenges of being a dynastic team.
Perhaps one issue they did not foresee was some of the off-field issues that have been reported about defensive end Frank Clark in recent weeks.
He has been a large part of their team in the past couple of years, providing talent to a defense that is often overlooked.
While Clark’s 2021 availability will likely sort itself out in the coming weeks, losing him for any length of time would be a significant blow to the Chiefs.
Here are three reasons why Clark is extremely valuable, and by no means overrated.
It’s one of the most re-hashed clichés in all of sports, but sometimes the greatest ability truly is availability.
Clark is one of the better sack masters in the NFL, but he can truly be counted on to show up week in and week out.
In his six-year NFL career, he has missed no more than two games in any season, and has played in 15 out of 16 games in four of those seasons.
Even if he’s not getting all the way to the quarterback, offenses still need to account for his presence in each contest.
He has 101 quarterback hits in his NFL career, and is not a fun player to game plan against.
Da 5’s pic.twitter.com/3RHm2q7FCW
— Frank Clark (@TheRealFrankC_) February 5, 2021
2. Comes From Winning Culture
Perhaps more than any other sport, the NFL is the consummate team game.
Nothing positive happens on offense, defense, or special teams if guys aren’t on the same page and pulling together for a common goal.
While some of it might be by sheer luck, Clark has been in some of the most positive NFL situations so far in his career.
He spent the first four seasons of his NFL tenure with the Seattle Seahawks, who have been one of the best teams in the league for the last decade or so.
From 2015-2018 with Clark on the roster, Seattle won no fewer than nine games each regular season.
While with the Chiefs the past two seasons, he’s played in the Super Bowl both years.
At only 28 years old and in the prime of his athletic prowess, the defensive end has accumulated a wealth of clutch experience, which is extremely valuable.
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) February 2, 2021
1. Plays Big In Big Games
Piggybacking off of the above point, there are players who handle the spotlight better than others.
Certain athletes can sometimes shrink during a game’s biggest moments, leaving fans to wonder where their reliable regular season contributor has disappeared to.
So far in his career, Clark has made a habit of making impactful plays in the biggest moments.
In six playoff games with Kansas City over the last two years, Clark has posted eight total sacks, and has hit the quarterback 10 times.
This is a significant uptick from the playoff influence he made with Seattle, which means he’s only getting better.
If he’s lost for a significant length of time this season, the Chiefs will have a difficult time replacing his production when it counts the most.