The Colts have purged their roster of some of the all time greats, with more farewells in the works. This is the first of a recurring series saying farewell to Colts greats. Portions of this essay originally appeared in Blue Blue: Tales of Glory of the Indianapolis Colts.
Drafted out of Iowa in the first round in 2003, Dallas Clark was going to be hard pressed to be as beloved by fans as Ken Dilger was during his time with the Colts. It did not take him long to become even more beloved. From the start, Clark showed unique abilities that made him one of the most dangerous pass catchers in football. Clark's 'hybrid' skills create matchup nightmares for defenses. Too big to be covered by corners and too fast for linebackers, Dallas Clark has allowed Peyton Manning to switch freely from a two tight end alignment to a three wideout alignment all while keeping the same players on the field.
Many forget that it was the injury to Dallas Clark late in his rookie year that possibly cost the Colts a trip to the Super Bowl. When they faced the Patriots in a matchup that ultimately decided home field advantage in the playoffs, the Colts were forced to run a new personnel package down on the goal line. Without Clark's presence, the Colts were stopped short of the endzone on four straight plays.
Clark has always been a valuable but secondary weapon, but his true value was obvious during the 2006 playoffs. After suffering what was first called a season ending knee injury in November, Clark fought to stay off injured reserve. During the four game run to the Super Bowl, Clark was a force. He had 103 yard receiving against the Chiefs, followed it up with a clutch first down against the Ravens, and then pulled in a team high 137 yards receiving in the 38-34 win over the Patriots.
His long catch and run mid-way through the fourth quarter set up the tying field goal for the Colts. My fondest memory of Clark will always be screaming, "BE THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE" as he streaked up the seam and into Pats territory.
Clark posted a breakout season in 2009 with 100 catches, 10 touchdowns, and 1,106 yards receiving. His play earned him both Pro Bowl and All Pro honors. Clark holds all Indianapolis Colts’ records for tight ends, and he recently passed Hall of Famer John Mackey for the most tight end receptions in franchise history. Unfortunately, a severe wrist injury took him out in the 2010 season, and he was never the same again. Throughout 2011 he struggled to make routine catches as his hands were clearly not quite right.
Clark's impact on the game was never more evident than in the Super Bowl against the Saints. The Saints were so terrified of him, that they geared their entire game plan around taking him away.
He is a beloved member of the community, and the kind of player that was easy for kids to look up to.
We'll never forget you, 44.
Thanks for the memories, Dallas Clark.
I guess I numbed a bit since the devastating loss of Peyton, or maybe it's just because I've grown used to not seeing him on the field for the past couple years, but it certainly doesn't hurt a tenth as much as losing 18. Still, going to be bizarre looking at our roster and not recognizing anyone.
Dallas is one of two Colts jerseys I own (the other being Peyton). My best friend and I always joked that it seemed like Dallas always ran like he was trying to get away from an alligator, cause he had to zig and zag in order to outrun anyone. Half the time it seemed like he was falling forward as he ran, like he'd never tried it before
Really? Disappointed in you fellow Colts fans. No one has posted the RoosterTeeth 44 video? Dallas only had the foresight to clone himself so that he could be tackled.
One of my favorite memories of Dallas is the catch against Miami in 2009. First play from scrimmage, and bam, 80 yard TD. That was such a memorable game, but that play in particular illustrates so well the uniqueness of 44 on the field. That, and the catch against the Ravens in 2006, are why I always see a bigger than life Dallas Clark in my head, and why I´m always surprised for a second when I remember his numbers were not completely exceptional in today´s NFL. He always, always exuded class, and seemed like the friendliest of teammates. Oh, I´ll also never forget when I read an article about his history, and just started rooting that much harder for him. A great, and greatly beloved Colt. Thank you, Dallas.
@Goéland Ooh good call, I hadn't remembered that catch in a while. What a great way to start a game.
What's next ----changing the team name and colors? Has Irsay low what little is left of his feeble mind?!!!!!!
Time to move forward. We were OLD and INJURED. and Irsay is not making ALL of these decisions.
Look, it sucks, but it is the reality of the current situation.
I feel like we need a NFL for Dummies class and book, with the chapters on Salary Cap and Rebuilding due by the end of week one.
(No, I'm not calling people dumb...its just not THAT hard to understand all of these moves, whether we like it or not.)
@TXCIKTSFAB he has definitely lost his mind! how could he part with a 33 year old guy who missed more than half the season last year, a large chunk of this year, and who hasn't topped 360 yards and 3 tds in the last two years?! oh yeah and he was making $5 million this year! guys like that are a huge value to a franchise.
This just sounds wrong.........
I'll miss #44 so much...I know the business side of things...and I don't blame the front office for making the tough calls that have to be made
But goddamn this is weird to see.......
I just wanted to stop by to say it has been fun being a Colts fan the last 14 years. However, my allegiance lies with Peyton, so my new favorite team will be wherever he goes. As such, I will no longer frequent Colts blogs. It's been fun. Best of luck to you (though I will actively root against Andrew Luck's success for being one of the reason's Manning was cut...very peevish, I know, but there it is).
@productive11 See you in a couple years when your on the Luck bandwagon. Like jimfix says, enjoy the cowboys, yankees, and heat.
@PacersCenter @productive11 I don't understand this bandwagon fan bashing. Supporting a sports team is not the same as supporting your family, your morals, your ethics, your deeply held beliefs. If someone likes a team because of 1 player and that player leaves why shouldn't they leave?
And, especially Indy fans. As a Pacers fan you have to have noticed the drop off in attendance that followed the breaking up of that team (granted it was a pretty special case). And even if you can't remember it personally, I can assure you there are a lot more Colts fans in Indy now than there were before Manning. The big open question in my mind is if the Colts fan base can actually survive a 2-3 year bout of losing. Judging by how bad it got in Indy this year, I doubt it.
@jimfix @kasey_junk @PacersCenter @productive11 I agree with kasey_junk. If it is all "business" when it comes to pro teams then fans can come and go as they please too. If I am not getting my money's worth why would I support the team or what have you done for me lately or any other cliche, isn't that what owners tell their players all the time.
Wasn't it Irsay who forced the new stadium down the throat of city residents in exchange for keeping the team in Indy (and other owners do that too).
I am not sure if loyalty and pro teams go that well
@productive11 cool, dude. add the colts jerseys to your closet of dallas cowboys, yankees, and miami heat gear. later.
A back up college linebacker, who some Iowa coaches just happen to see working out with his roommate catching passes... and get the bright idea to move him to tight end. Two years later he is a first round draft pick.
You just can't make that up. Best of luck #44.
(Is there any friggin' way that Peyton, Reggie, Dallas and Joseph all end up playing together?)
@DougEngland It sounds like that is Denvers pitch to Peyton. Bringing in all the old Colts to Denver. Kinda makes sense. Old Colt = Bronco.
I'll miss Dallas. I understand the reasoning, since he has been injury prone the past few years, but still, he was great for the Colts. Don't know if he belongs in the Ring of Honor, but damn he was great for a while.