In an emotional press conference held Wednesday (June 18), Livermore native Dallas Clark announced he was retiring from the National Football League with the team that brought him into the league.
The Indianapolis Colts announced on Monday they were going to sign Clark to a one-day contract, which would allow him to retire from the team which made him a first round draft pick in 2003.
Clark was drafted out of the University of Iowa in April of 2003, where he was the 24th pick overall and the No. 1 pick by the Colts that spring. He broke the Colts’ franchise career tight end record for receptions (427) and touchdown catches (46) and finished second in yards receiving (4,887) and 100-yard games (seven).
Clark also set Colts single season records with 100 receptions and 1,106 yards in 2009 and 11 TD catches in 2007. Clark was released following the 2011 season, part of a rebuilding purge that also included the release of quarterback Peyton Manning.
Clark signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in May of 2012 and played one season in Tampa. He signed with the Baltimore Ravens in August of 2013 and played last season in Baltimore, where he finished his career with 505 receptions, 5,665 yards and 53 touchdowns.
Clark’s best season came in 2009 when he started 16 games and caught 100 passes for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Bowl. He had 11 touchdown catches in 2007. He helped the Colts win the Super Bowl after the 2006 season. With his ability to catch passes and outrun defenders, Clark was a vital cog in the Colts' offense when Manning needed a receiver to hit a short pass with on key third-down situations.
“It’s an honor I can’t even explain,” Clark said on the team’s web site. “It’s amazing just the love and support I have for the Colts and fans, but to see it come back toward me is humbling. For the Irsay family and the Colts family to do this is an honor, something I can’t thank anyone for enough. It’s so special I can even express how awesome it is.”
A 1998 graduate of Twin River Valley High School in Bode, Clark walked on to the University of Iowa football team where he was a reserve linebacker who played special teams. Clark switched to tight end in the spring of 2001 and played two seasons where he flourished at tight end. He ranks 17th in school history in career receiving yards (1,281) and 81 career receptions. His 645 receiving yards in 2002 ranks as 15th best total for a single season.
Clark won the John Mackey Award as the nation’s top collegiate tight end in 2002. He was also a first-team all-Big Ten selection and a unanimous first-team All-American.
At TRV, Clark was named second-team all-state as a senior and honorable mention as a junior. He was first-team all-conference as a junior and senior, second team as a sophomore and honorable mention as a freshman. Clark combined for 300 tackles in his final two prep seasons. Clark held the school record for tackles in a game. He was team captain as a senior and MVP as a junior and senior. Clark earned four letters in football, basketball and track and earned five letters in baseball.
“My goal after year four was to get in a position to walk away from the game instead of not being able to play anymore,” Clark said. “That’s the case now and I’m good with that. I got to the point where I could do it for a couple of more years, but I need to walk away.”
“When you see how the business is, how injuries happen and careers come and go, I did not see the career I had coming one bit,” Clark said. “I’m healthy. I feel great. It’s just the right time.”