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Clark: 'I'm Excited to Get the Chance'

Safety Ryan Clark spoke with in the days after he recorded the game-ending interception against the Philadelphia Eagles:

Q: How did you prepare last offseason?
A: "I do the same type of work that everyone does. I come over here and work out. I also have my own workout later in the day. I workout here about two days per week and go to another place about four days per week. I ate a lot, which is not hard to do. It's easy to eat a lot. It just kind of happened. In college, I used to be able to bulk up to like 190 or 195 in the off-season. I'd be 165 or 170 at the end of the season. That's just how my body works. My wife is there with me, eating good meals with me every night, praying, and just staying on me. It's been a positive for me."

Q: How much did you weigh at this time last year?

A: "At this time last year, I was a little daddy. I was about 184 or 185 [pounds]. You could see it in the progression of my season. At first, I was getting about 10 to 12 tackles per game. Then toward the end of the season, I would just sit back there because after a while, your body can't take [the pounding]. I'm holding up pretty well this year. It's been a blessing."

Q: How much do you weight currently?

A: "I don't know. I try not to weigh myself until Friday so that my feelings don't get hurt too bad. Last Friday, I weighed 201, which was after two bottles of water and some Gatorade, but I'll take it. I feel better. I always mess with Mike Sellers, [saying] that my weight [determines] how physical I'll be at practice. If I tell him I weigh 198 or 199, he'll say, I have to hit you today.' If I tell him I'm about 193, he'll say, Well, I know you're not going to hit me today.' That's just how it works. I weigh myself at the end of the week to make myself feel good."

Q: You're career is starting to take off. What are your thoughts on your progression?

A: "It's funny. A lot of times, people talk about the guys that have enough talent to play in the NFL and don't get a shot, or guys who have talent but never got the opportunity while they were playing. I was one of those guys when I was with the New York Giants. They had two really good safeties, [current Redskin] Omar Stoutmire and Shaun Williams. I had to wait my turn. I'll never forget talking to Tim Lewis, the Giants new coordinator. He was on me a lot, so I asked him, What is it?' His words were, They don't think you can tackle in this league. They don't think that you're big enough to play safety.' That stuck with me. I got an opportunity here to play due to some unfortunate circumstances for other people. You never want people to get injured for you to get your opportunity. Sometimes, God has a plan for you and you just have to wait for that to happen. I stayed diligent and kept working. I told [the media] about that play. That was a lot less me than it was other people. We had a good rush. He didn't even see me. He just threw it right to me. I caught it like a punt. I wanted to score. I really wanted to score. I got in trouble for that today--they told me I should have kneeled it. I thought I was faster than I really was. I thought I was going to be able to score. It's been a steady progression. It's working out well. I get to do press conferences in front of [the media]. It's progressing the way I like it."

Q: What do you feel about comments claiming that you are one of the Redskins defense's hardest hitters?

A: "I find that funny. It's pretty funny. I've never been scared to hit. I used to always tell my dad, 'I go up there and try to hit them. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose.' Lately, I've been winning more than I've been losing. I had a good friend tell me, You're either going to be the hammer or the nail.' I might be a small hammer, [rather than] a sledgehammer. Sometimes, running backs just stop there feet, too. It just makes us look good."

Q: Do you think you relish your playing opportunities more than top draft choices?

A: "I wouldn't say that. I work with a lot of guys who were first-round picks who work just as hard as I do. They don't get the credit for working hard. Shawn Springs, Sean Taylor, LaVar, Marcus Washington, and all of those guys work just as hard as I do. But they're 6-3. I'm 5-11. So, it goes kind of unnoticed. We all relish our opportunities whenever we get them. I'm just like the next man. A lot of people say I try to play with a chip on my shoulder. I don't really have a chip. I'm in the NFL. Where's the chip? I'm excited to be playing. I'm excited to get the chance that I've been given here. I want to keep making the guys who gave me a chance look good and the people who didn't look bad. I do relish that. I've been proving people wrong for a long time. I wasn't supposed to play at LSU as early as I did. They moved Mark Roman, who was a second-round pick in the NFL, to corner just so that I could play at safety at 175 pounds in the SEC. I've been given a lot of opportunities and have been blessed in a lot of ways. I just enjoy the opportunity. I have fun with it."

Q: What was your reaction when former coaches told you that they didn't think you could tackle well enough to stick in the NFL?

A: "I never needed a negative opinion about me to make me work. I work just because that was all I knew. It drove me in the sense that, every time I play the Giants, I try to make sure that I make a statement. I try to let them know that I can play. They know that. Sometimes, you just don't fit. I guess I just didn't fit over there. To me, that's pretty much over. That's in the past. It's not going to make me play better this Sunday or work any harder any other day. It's just something that you have to go through in your life. It was cool and I've progressed from it. It is what is."

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