He entered the league as a long shot to make it, but more than a decade later, Ryan Clark will exit on his own terms.
The veteran safety announced Wednesday on ESPN's NFL Live that he will retire as a Pittsburgh Steeler after 13 seasons in the NFL.
Clark was a mainstay in the defensive backfield for the Steelers from 2006 through 2013, playing free safety alongside Troy Polamalu and patrolling the secondary as part of one of the league's best defenses. Clark started 109 games during his time with the Steelers, tallying 448 solo tackles and 12 interceptions and appearing in two Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl XLIII in the 2008 season.
Signed by the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent out of LSU in 2002, Clark made his first mark as a professional during the 2003 season, starting four games in the defensive backfield and registering 19 solo tackles and a sack during an otherwise dreadful 4-12 campaign. His play was good enough to earn him a deal with the Washington Redskins, where he played for two seasons before joining the Steelers and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.
Clark spent the 2014 season in a second stint with Washington, starting 15 games for a Redskins team that finished 4-12.
The safety has spent his last few offseasons making television appearances and will likely have little trouble pursuing an on-camera career after leaving the NFL.