New York Jets Star Out To Prove Doubters Wrong This Season

One of the New York Jets star players is ready to prove he has not lost a step when he gets back onto the field this year.
Baltimore Ravens safety Chuck Clark (36) tackles Cincinnati Bengals tight end Hayden Hurst (88)
Baltimore Ravens safety Chuck Clark (36) tackles Cincinnati Bengals tight end Hayden Hurst (88) / Albert Cesare/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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Last offseason, the New York Jets made a trade for safety Chuck Clark with the idea he would pair with fellow starter Jordan Whitehead and dominate on the backside of their defense.

Because of their move for Aaron Rodgers, this deal was largely overlooked.

Once Clark went down with a torn ACL during OTAs, the hope he would be a force for this defensive unit vanished as they would have to wait another year for him to get back onto the field.

Fast forward to this offseason after he re-signed with the team, and the Jets are, once again, hoping he will become that impact player for their defense.

But at 29 years old, there are plenty of doubters out there who think he might not be productive, especially coming off a devastating knee injury that caused him to miss an entire season's worth of action.

Clark hears it, and he wants to silence it.

"People are like, 'Oh he missed the year, he lost stuff.' Yeah, alright. Watch," he said according to team reporter Ethan Greenberg.

A former sixth round pick by the Baltimore Ravens out of Virginia Tech back in 2017, the veteran has carved out a nice career for himself. He's wracked up 384 tackles, forced five fumbles, recovered four, intercepted five balls, and has scored two defensive touchdowns.

Clark is the exact player that fits head coach Robert Saleh's defense on the backend.

He knows he'll have to prove himself, though, especially after he is returning from the torn ACL and New York has already stated they are going to have an open competition to see who their starting safeties will be for Week 1.

"I still got that chip on my shoulder. But I think going through that injury process that it just gave me a new gratitude and gratefulness for this game. I missed the whole year, so I got a lot to prove from that sense," he added.

It's also not out of the realm of possibility that the Jets bring in another player to join that room in free agency before the season starts.

But it sounds like New York is happy with how his recovery has gone and are excited about what he brings to the table entering this year.

"He's worked his tail off," Saleh said. "He's been here every day. He didn't have to. Even last year during the season, he didn't have to be here to rehab, but he was here and staying connected to the team. He's putting together a good OTA and excited about the trajectory at which he's going."

That's great news for the Jets.

Now it will be up to Clark to prove those doubters wrong with his play on the field.


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Brad Wakai

BRAD WAKAI

Brad Wakai graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Journalism. While an undergrad, he did work at the student radio station covering different Penn State athletic programs like football, basketball, volleyball, soccer and other sports. Brad currently is the Lead Contributor for Nittany Lions Wire of Gannett Media where he continues to cover Penn State athletics. He is also a contributor at FanSided, writing about the Philadelphia 76ers for The Sixers Sense. Brad is the host of the sports podcast I Said What I Said, discussing topics across the NFL, College Football, the NBA and other sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @bwakai