Clark Finds Motivation in Many Forms

Desmond Clark had four receptions against the Ravens for a total of 50 yards, but Clark's production extended far beyond the 12.5-yard average. In recent weeks, he has become more visible and considerably important at the tight end position, a fact that Clark appreciates but doesn't necessarily enjoy.

"You know, I make a few catches, and suddenly all of you media guys are following me around," said Clark, who had two TD receptions against the Vikings a week ago. "Guess what? I've been here all along. My play isn't really that different. Our schemes aren't that different. You're just noticing what I've been doing in the three seasons that I've been with the Bears."

Clark has always been somewhat of a contradiction. An imposing man physically, he has a quiet demeanor and seems to prefer to blend into the background of the locker room. But if confronted by either opponent or media representatives, Clark doesn't hesitate to express his opinions. Most of all, he keeps ‘score'.

"Yep, I add it all up, each and every day," Clark said. "I remember who said what and when and how that directly affected me. Say I read some insulting article in the newspaper. And believe me, I read every paper every day just looking for this kind of stuff. I cut it out and tape it in my locker for motivation. I also listen to all the local sports radio and TV shows and I remember what's been said. You'd be surprised how well that works. Anything that gets me heated up tends to improve my level of play."

Clark also listens to his counterparts on the field waiting for a misspoken comment that impinges on his character or his play.

"A guy looks at me across the line and says something he shouldn't? You can be sure that I'll remember that and get him sooner or later," Clark said. "I'm big enough and strong enough to make an impact. A large part of my job involves blocking and I can hit real hard when I'm mad."

Clark's 15 receptions are good enough for second on the team behind Muhsin Muhammad. His 26-yard reception against the Ravens is his longest since he caught a 31-yard pass in 2003.

Despite having success on the field, Clark is still smarting at seemingly being cast in the role of a forgotten man on the field by local sports pundits last year.

"You know, I look back at my stats, I review my game film and I can see that I am pretty much doing the same thing year after year. The first season I was with the Bears, everything I did was 'great'. Then the next season, I was a washout, supposedly. Now I'm approaching 'great' again.

"You think I can take those assessments seriously, no," Clark said. "What counts for me is what my teammates think, how my coaches view me, and how I am with my family. If I am right with those people who know me best, then everything is just fine."

One of those with a definitely favorable view of Clark is rookie QB Kyle Orton. The duo has hooked up eight times in the past two games.

"Communication on the offense is important, so I make an effort to talk to Kyle and to get along well with him," Clark said. "We are on the same page which tends to be a productive situation."

"Kyle is a smart and a steady guy who knows football. Both he and I see my role as adding a dimension to the offense. It's important to take some of the pressure off of Muhammad and (Thomas) Jones. I'm happy to give us another option. And for that matter, so are tight ends Gabe Reid and John Gilmore. This isn't a one-man tight end show. There's much more than me involved here. When we're called, we'll be there to get those yards."

Clark does admit to feeling considerably more relaxed now that the Bears have momentum on their side.

"I'm enjoying myself out there these days, there's no doubt about that," Clark said. "But do me a favor. When you see me by my locker after the game is done, just keep walking. Let me go about my business in my own time and in my own way and we'll all be happy."

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