Arrow-right Camera
Subscribe now
Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks’ Frank Clark ‘very confident’ he can make immediate impact in return

Seahawks defensive tackle Shamar Stephen congratulates defensive end Frank Clark for a sack on Oakland quarterback Derek Carr on Oct. 14, 2018, at Wembley Stadium in London.  (Tribune News Service)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

RENTON, Wash. – The jersey number is just a little off from what Frank Clark wore during his first tenure with the Seahawks – No. 57 instead of 55, which belongs to Dre’Mont Jones.

Not that 57 is all bad – it’s the number he wore at Michigan.

His locker is just a little bit removed from where it was when he was here from 2015-18, around the corner a few feet from his old one.

No matter.

After re-signing with the Seahawks to rejoin the team he started his career with, Clark said Thursday it’s almost like he never left.

“Back at home,” Clark said. “I feel like I got out of bed this morning, went to school, came back and my bed is still messy and I can get right back in it.”

The Seahawks hope that Clark can also replicate the form he showed when he was last with Seattle in 2018, when he had 13 sacks, the most for any Seahawk since 2007 – or something close to it.

The team re-signed Clark to a one-year deal for a prorated share of the veteran minimum of $1.165 million to replace the injured Uchenna Nwosu, who will miss the rest of the season after suffering a pectoral muscle injury in Sunday’s 20-10 win over Arizona that will require surgery. The Seahawks placed Nwosu on injured reserve Thursday to make room for Clark.

The defense is a little different now than it was then with Clint Hurtt in his second year as coordinator.

Hurtt, who was the defensive-line coach during Clark’s last two years, said he doesn’t think there will be much of a transition needed.

“He knows … all of (the) things and expectations of the position,” Hurtt said. “A lot of it is just getting caught up on lingo and things of that nature. Frank was always a sharp guy, so I don’t expect there to be any issues.”

And as for his physical health, Clark said, “I feel excellent.”

Asked if he’s ready to play Sunday against Cleveland he shot back, “Hell yeah. I’ve got to wear them throwbacks.”

Clark likely won’t start, with Seattle probably set to go with Darrell Taylor and Boye Mafe at the two outside-linebacker spots.

But the Seahawks hope Clark can immediately fill a key role in what has been a four-man outside linebacker/edge-rusher rotation along with Taylor, Mafe and rookie Derick Hall.

“All of the guys understand all of the roles and all of the techniques within the system, and we just keep on moving forward,” Hurtt said. “Mafe is doing an outstanding job right now, and Derick Hall is still continuing to come along and DT (Darrell Taylor) knows what’s going on as well, and we’ll get Frankie up to speed.

“We don’t have to change anything schematically.”

On Oct. 13, Denver released Clark, who signed a one-year contract worth $5.45 million in the offseason. He made two tackles in two games with Denver and last played in the Broncos’ loss to the Jets on Oct. 8.

Clark signed that contract after he was released in March by the Chiefs, the team for which he played from 2019-22.

Clark was traded to Kansas City after he and the Seahawks could not agree on a long-term contract, and Seattle netted a package that included first-, second- and third-round picks.

Clark said he wished he’d never had to leave, saying, “I wanted to be here, but you’ve got situations, the business part.”

It worked out well for Clark, who earned two Super Bowl rings with the Chiefs and made $35 million.

“Me being able to go on that journey, I’m thankful for it,” he said.

But Clark said a piece of his heart always remained in Seattle. When the Chiefs released him in March, he said he hoped to reconnect with the Seahawks.

“It’s always been one of my goals to get back to Seattle at some point in my career,” Clark said.

Clark had to sweat it out a few days, though, as Seattle didn’t initially have a need. He considered returning to Kansas City, and he said a few other teams showed interest.

But Monday, once the Seahawks learned that Nwosu would be out for the season, the phone finally rang.

“I was ecstatic,” he said. “That was one of those calls I had been waiting for.”

Not only did Clark still feel a kinship to the city, but he said he has remained in close contact with a handful of former teammates.

“Still got guys like (Michael) Bennett and Cliff (Avril) text me to this day, like, ‘You need to do this better,’ ” Clark said . “I have Mike text me, like, ‘You know, you suck this game.’ ”

The critiques might be harsher now that Clark is again one of them.

Clark is 30 and, statistically, his past few seasons haven’t quite measured up to his breakout 2018 season – he has 9.5 sacks in his last 31 regular-season games.

Clark, though, can point to his postseason success as proof that he still has it – he has 13.5 sacks in the playoffs, third most of anyone in NFL history.

He indicated Thursday that the way the Seahawks plan to use him will allow him to thrive.

Clark said he is “very confident” he can make an immediate impact.

“Back into that comfort zone, just doing what I do,” he said. “Getting my hand in the dirt, rushing that passer, setting that edge. … If you know me as a player, you give me one task, allow me to focus and lock in on it, I’m going to get the job done, more than likely.”

While Clark isn’t necessarily thinking of this as the end of his career, he said returning to Seattle after having won a couple of Super Bowls allows him to feel like he’s experienced the best of both worlds.

“The cherry on top would be to win one here,” he said. “That’s my goal.”