After eleven years in the NFL, and numbers that put most tight ends to shame, Dallas Clark is retiring from the NFL. The 35 year-old player signed a one-day contract with the Colts so that he could retire with the team on which he served the longest, making June 18th his last official day in the NFL.
The time he spent with the Colts is some of the most productive in team history. He helped lead the team to Super Bowl victory, was selected to the 2009 Pro Bowl, and NFC Alumni Tight End of the Year in 2009.
Clark, who was drafted by the Colts in the first round of the 2003 draft, said his final words to the team Wednesday afternoon. His family, including his 90 year-old grandmother, were also in attendance. During his address to the team, he was seen in a very emotional state, breaking several times to hold back tears.
In his speech, he thanked both Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne, for helping him achieve his best as a player. In his thanks to Wayne, he told him that, "I was hanging onto your coattails," when he joined the team. The two were known for their close friendship, with Wayne saying, "Dallas is my favorite teammate. All-time, no question."
Reggie Wayne isn't the only one singing his praises. Owner Jim Irsay, Peyton Manning, and Pat McAfee have all responded to his retirement by giving public praise of his playing ability and personality. McAfee in particular went on to say, "I couldn't be more thankful for what Dallas Clark has done for me and my career, and I think Indianapolis Colts fans feel the same way."
After his time as a Colt, he played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2012 season, and the Baltimore Ravens in 2013. But neither team could replace the Colts in his heart, stating the occasion was "So special I can't even express how awesome it is."
What comes for Clark next remains to be seen. Some have speculated he will return to his hometown of Livermore, Iowa, which has a population of only 377. However, he and his family have a home in Zionsville, where they have been raising his two sons.
All can be said for sure is that he was, and always will be, an Indianapolis Colt.
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