July 16, 2024

Ex-Chiefs linebacker Frank Clark reunites with Russell Wilson in Denver

Denver Broncos linebacker Randy Gregory, left, squares off against linebacker Nik Bonitto during an NFL football training camp at the team's headquarters Friday, July 28, 2023, in Centennial, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

By ARNIE STAPLETON AP Pro Football Writer
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Frank Clark has reunited with Russell Wilson in Denver and now the outside linebacker has former teammate Patrick Mahomes in his sights instead.
The 30-year-old outside linebacker signed with Denver after being jettisoned by the Kansas City Chiefs in a cost-cutting move this offseason and the Broncos are counting on him to add some oomph to their pass rush.
Still in the AFC West, Clark gets two opportunities at beating his former team this season, something the Broncos haven’t done since 2015. Their 15-game skid against the Chiefs is the fourth longest by one team to a single opponent in NFL history.
Unlike his reunion with Wilson, revenge and rivalry aren’t top of mind for Clark as he embraces his fresh start in the Rocky Mountains.
“I wouldn’t call it a rivalry. A rivalry is competitive,” Clark interjected in his first public comments since signing a one-year, $5.5 million deal with Denver last month. “I’m (with) the Broncos now. I’ve been on the other side. We didn’t call it a rivalry then.”
And before anyone around Denver can call it that the Broncos will have to beat Mahomes, something they have a better shot at doing with Clark on their side.
The Chiefs parted ways with Clark just a year after signing him to a two-year, $30 million extension. The Broncos haven’t had a fearsome pass rush since trading Von Miller two years ago. And with Baron Browning sidelined by a knee injury and Randy Gregory coming off an injury-filled debut season in Denver, first-year head coach Sean Payton eagerly welcomed the veteran with 58 1/2 sacks.
Clark had 23 1/2 sacks in four seasons in Kansas City and another 10 1/2 in the playoffs, helping the Chiefs go 10-2 in the postseason and make three trips to the Super Bowl.
“What we did in Kansas City was special,” Clark said. “Four-year run, two Super Bowl (rings), three AFC titles. It was fun, but at the end of the day all good things come to an end.”
Bad things, too, he hopes. Such as Denver’s 15-game skid to the Chiefs.
One thing Clark insists isn’t nearing the finish line in his proclivity for getting after the passer even though his five sacks in 2022 and two-game suspension for gun possession incidents a year earlier meant an end to his three-year run as a Pro Bowler.
“I wouldn’t say it was the end” in Kansas City last season, Clark said. “It’s never the end when you get the job finished.”
Now he aims to help the Broncos and Wilson bounce back in 2023.
“He’s still dangerous. Don’t get it twisted,” Clark said of Wilson, whom he played with in Seattle from 2015-18. “Russ is a veteran. He’s a guy that’s won on multiple levels. … I was a part of Seahawks teams that were successful; I was a part of teams where we didn’t make the playoffs. But it was the same Russ.
“So don’t think a bad season’s going to shake a guy like Russ,” Clark added. “Naw, bro, we start fresh every year. Every summer’s a fresh start.”