Bruce Clark Was An Incredibly Underrated Saints’ Player
When it comes to underrated players in New Orleans Saints' history, Bruce Clark, a defensive lineman for the franchise for seven seasons, from 1982-1988, comes immediately to mind.
Clark was a defensive tackle, who typically don't pile up the sexy statistics. Defensive tackles are supposed to occupy blockers, and allow the linebackers to come up and make the tackles, while the defensive ends recorded most of the sacks.
Clark did that, allowing linebackers such as Rickey Jackson and Whitney Paul, and other defensive linemen, such as Frank Warren and Jim Wilks, to get most of the press.
Make no mistake however, Clark was a big part of the Saints' success, and one of the reasons why those other players were able to rack up the glory stats.
A native of New Castle, Pennsylvania, Clark played college football for Penn St., where he won the Lombardi Award, in recognition of the top defensive lineman in college football in 1978, becoming the first junior ever to win that award, while being tabbed a first-team All-American in 1979.
The Green Bay Packers selected Clark with the fourth pick in the 1980 NFL Draft, behind Billy Simms (Detroit Lions), Johnny “Lam” Jones (New York Jets), and Anthony Munoz (Cincinnati Bengals), but Clark refused to play for them, in part because of his reluctance to play nose tackle, and instead signed with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.
In 1982, the Saints traded their first-round pick of the 1983 NFL Draft to the Packers in exchange for the rights to Clark, who they signed to a contract.
In seven seasons in New Orleans, Clark played in 102 games, starting 88, mostly at defensive end.
A 1984 NFL Pro Bowler when he accumulated a career-high 10.5 sacks, Clark totaled 39.5 sacks during his tenure with the Saints, with at least 4.5 every season from 1982-1987.
The 6-foot-3, 273-pound Clark left the Saints following the 1988 season, and spent one season with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1989, his last year in the NFL.
Clark had his remodeling business in New Orleans destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2006.
Now 58-years old, Clark is certainly one of, if not the most underrated player in franchise history.