Dallas Clark talks of his long-shot career path to Canton


Dallas Clark caught over 500 passes during an 11-year NFL career played mostly for one of the most explosive offenses in NFL history, the Indianapolis Colts of Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Edgerrin James. Harrison is already in the Hall of Fame, James has twice been a finalist, Wayne becomes eligible in 2010 and Manning in 2021. This year will be Clark’s first shot at football immortality and this week he visited Talk of Fame Network to talk about his chances, his blessings and how he went from a walk-on, non-scholarship linebacker at Iowa to a potential pro football Hall of Famer.

“It’s something you don’t talk about,’’ Clark said of his own Hall of Fame candidacy. “It’s just so majestic seeing all those (Hall of Fame) guys who paved the way. It’s why they are there…The only thing I think about is when am I going to see Peyton go in and Reggie go in.’’

Certainly Clark will see both but what of one of only three tight ends in NFL history to have had a 100-catch season? That year, 2009, Clark took those receptions for 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns. What did it take to do that?

“It takes health,’’ Clark said but he quickly added that he would give them all up to have won the Colts final game that season. The Super Bowl.

“I’d give up those 100 catches to win one more game,’’ Clark told TOF. “Ugh!’’

Clark went on to tell our Hall of Fame co-hosts, Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge, what life was like trying to share the ball with so many potent weapons, how offensive coordinator Tom Moore kept them all in line and why nobody on offense really likes a tight end. You’ll be amused at why he feels that way and surprised at how he views his own accomplishments.

Our guys also spent some time catching up with American Football League historian Todd Tobias, an AFL advocate who has begun a petition campaign urging Hall of Fame voters to induct all-time All-AFL safety Johnny Robinson in Canton as a senior candidate.

“He is considered the AFL’s most overlooked (HOF candidate),’’ Tobias tells TOF.

As part of our planned 32-week series of interviews with Hall of Fame voters in each NFL city discussing the “best of the rest’’ Hall candidates, Buffalo voter Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News drops by to name the player he feels is the most deserving Bill not inducted in Canton. You may be surprised to learn who it is because he didn’t play offense and he didn’t play on Buffalo’s four Super Bowl teams.

Ron’s regular “Borges or Bogus’’ segment focuses on the apparent desire of some NFL owners to assess Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones over $2 million for legal fees and court costs incurred when Jones threatened to sue them over Commissioner Roger Goodell’s contract extension and the six-game suspension of Dallas star running back Ezekiel Elliott.

There’s all that plus combine memories, early draft projections and free agency predictions in this week’s installment of Talk of Fame Network’s weekly radio show. You can find it all Wednesday night from 8-10 p.m. and again on Sunday morning on SB Nation radio or you can download the free podcast at iTunes or TuneIn app or by going to our website, talkoffamenetwork.com and clicking on the helmet icon.