Steelers safety Ryan Clark says he’d rather Retire than play for a London Team

  • Justin "Arby" Arbogast

The Pittsburgh Steelers head to London this week to face the Minnesota Vikings in what one assumes will be an ugly matchup between two winless teams.

While the fans across the pond may be excited to be seeing the powerhouse that is the NFL, some of the players aren’t particularly excited about it. It’s a tough business, and what the boss man says goes – so for now NFL teams are forced to travel to play the international series (except the Jaguars, they’ll do anything to play in front of a real, screaming crowd, so they signed up without hesitation).

Ryan Clark added his name to a growing list of players that said they'd retire before playing for a London franchise. (AP Photo)

Ryan Clark added his name to a growing list of players that said they’d retire before playing for a London franchise. (AP Photo)

The NFL plans on moving a team overseas permanently in the future, and quite frankly, if they do – it may ruin the entire league. Players won’t be happy, and it will take more of a toll on a players body over the length of a season than any others in the past.

Players in the past have already spoke up about not wanting to play overseas, like Bengals tackle Andrew Whitworth who told the Cincinnati Enquirer in July that he’d step away.

“I would hope that I was financially able to quit,” He said. “That’s what I would hope because if I was, my papers would be the first one in.”

A franchise overseas would have a hard time getting free agents to commit, so they’d likely be the laughing stock of the NFL for a few years until they garnished enough number one overall picks to build a team, but by then it’d be unsuccessful and the league would (rightly) pull the plug and bring the team stateside.

More and more players have spoken out about hanging up the cleats as well. Steelers safety Ryan Clark, who plays in London this week, said that if he were shipped to the overseas franchise he’d call it a career.

“I’d retire. I’d definitely retire,” Clark said via TheScore

“That team would be asked to travel eight weeks of the season extremely far away. It would be extremely tough to ask. I don’t know if guys want to relocate their families, have their families educated in London, have their families relocate to London. It just seems like a hard deal for players to do. I can’t see unrestricted top notch top caliber free agents wanting to go to London to play football.”

It just wouldn’t work, and the more players speak out about it, the better.

Last time I checked, the NFL stood for National Football League, not World Football League or International Football League. It even irks me that they send a game (soon to be two) a year over for the London cats. Not taking anything away from them because I mean if I were in London I’d want to see the NFL too, but what about the Season Ticket holders that are required to pay for two half-assed preseason games, along with eight regular season games? They take the loss, but pay for the unused seat.

I could see the NFL doing a program where if the team played in London made the playoffs, giving a ticket for free……Wait. No I can’t it’s the NFL.

It’s a business – one that if it makes the mistake of planting a team in London, could go downhill in a hurry.

If the NFL wants to expand, do it in cities that deserve it. You know, like Salt Lake City, so I can stop paying for Sunday Ticket.

 

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Down and Distance Editor-in-Chief – Justin Arbogast @NFLGuy_SK

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