Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin told Ryan Clark he wouldn’t be playing Sunday against Tim Tebow and the Broncos in the playoffs. “I informed him that I’m not going to allow him to play,” Tomlin said. “For obvious reasons.”
Clark has sickle cell anemia and has had health complications every time he has played in Denver because of the high altitude. After the last time he played there he was taken off the plan, hospitalized and his spleen and gallbladder were removed. He nearly died.
Still he worked out in Denver to see how he would fare in a game. The team docs cleared him but couldn’t guarantee he wouldn’t have complications and there was a strategy of sideline treatments put together to try and keep Clark healthy. But in the end Tomlin told Clark he was a no go for playing.
“When a man tells you his reasoning for not letting you play is because if that was his son, he wouldn’t want him out there, it shows you he cares about you more than just as a football player, that you’re not just an asset to a football team. He understands you have a family and people that depend on you,” Clark said.
“If he’s in any more increased danger than any of the other 21 men on the field during the course of a game, then we’re going to err on the side of caution,” Tomlin said. “We’re looking at all our data and all our variables in this equation. We came to the simple determination that he is at more risk, so we’re not going to play him. It’s that simple.”
In a game where players hide injuries and teams turn a blind eye or cast aside their wounded warriors, Tomlin’s decision is worthy of recognition.
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