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New Bucs TE Dallas Clark craves competition
Posted Jun 15, 2012 by Ira Kaufman
Updated Jun 15, 2012 at 04:23 PM
BY IRA KAUFMAN
TAMPA—Entering his 10th NFL season, Dallas Clark remains vigilant.
The veteran tight end of the Buccaneers is careful never to take anything for granted. One of Peyton Manning’s favorite targets in Indianapolis, Clark still has the intense approach of a seventh-round draft pick trying to make the final roster.
“You’re proving yourself every day,’’ said Clark, who caught 427 passes and scored 46 touchdowns with the Colts before signing with the Bucs as a free agent. “The thing I’ve learned in this game is the second you think you can take a day off, you’re the first one out that door. That’s the beautiful thing about our game and our league. I love competition, and that’s why this is the best game in the world—because you have to compete every day.’‘
Clark and second-year tight end Luke Stocker will duel for playing time this fall as a new coaching staff evaluates their skills set.
“The second you take a day off and go through the motions, you’re beat,’’ Clark said. “Some people look at that as stress, but I think it’s a lot of fun.’‘
The Bucs traditionally shy away from 33-year-old free agents, but Clark could fill a key role as a third-down target for Josh Freeman, following the departure of Kellen Winslow.
“I felt like I was a leader on the Colts and with this young of a team, it’s even more of an opportunity for me to be a leader,’’ Clark said. “I’m not a rah-rah type. I just put my nose down and work. That’s how I lead, and I hope guys can respond to that.’‘