|Dallas Clark had a huge part in Indianapolis' Super Bowl charge. (US Presswire)|
The hit was as brutal as it was sudden, and it took Clark minutes to get to his feet. Yet he walked off without help and was in the huddle for the next series.
I mention both incidents because they symbolize what makes Clark one of the most valuable and least appreciated players in the pro football business. He's reliable. He's productive. And he's tough.
I don't know many people who could walk away from the Jackson hit, but Clark did -- and lucky for Indianapolis. Because, next to Manning, Dallas Clark may be the most valuable player on the Colts' offense.
Yeah, I know, they have star receiver Marvin Harrison. But they didn't Sunday. And they didn't for part of their game the preceding weekend. No problem. They had Clark, and he assumed some of Harrison's roles.
They have star receiver Reggie Wayne, too, but he can't play the slot, wide receiver, H-back and both tight end positions. Dallas Clark can, and that's what I love about this guy. He's versatile, he's accomplished and he's everywhere.
That's him lining up shoulder-to-shoulder with right tackle Ryan Diem. No, wait a minute, there he is next to left tackle Tony Ugoh. Hold it, he's in the slot position. Check that, he's out wide. He's in motion. He's wherever you want him to be.
"People can't appreciate how good he is," coach Tony Dungy said. "He's a lot like a great strong safety like Troy Polamalu or Bob Sanders. You can play them deep, or you can have them come to the line of scrimmage and make plays at the point of attack."
The point is: There isn't much Dallas Clark can't do.
Look at the Colts' 38-20 defeat of Denver. They lost Harrison in the second quarter with a bruised knee and were forced to move Clark to his position -- as well as both slot spots -- for some of the subsequent snaps. Result: He finished with a team-high six catches and two touchdowns.
A week later, he was back at all stations, this time hauling down seven receptions and scoring again. The touchdown was significant because of its degree of difficulty: Not only did Clark make a nifty one-handed catch; he stepped out of three tackles to find the end zone.
I marveled at the play, but those who know Clark didn't. They witnessed it too many times.