Maligned Seahawks pick Frank Clark: 'Not a bad person'

ByTerry Blount ESPN logo
Saturday, May 9, 2015

RENTON, Wash. -- Frank Clark, the Seattle Seahawks' controversial second-round draft pick who was kicked off the Michigan football team in November after a domestic violence incident, said on Friday that he is grateful to have a chance to redeem himself.

"I shouldn't be here," Clark said after the first day of Seahawks rookie camp. "I come from a rough background. With everything that I've been through these last several months and throughout my life, it's amazing how I'm still here.

"It's just incredible with the Seattle Seahawks giving me the opportunity to do what I do once again and believing in me. They showed that faith in me."

Clark faced misdemeanor charges of domestic violence and assault stemming from a November 2014 incident involving his former girlfriend in a Sandusky, Ohio, hotel room. He went on to plead no contest to a lesser charge of disturbing the peace.

Police report photos showed bruises on the victim's face, but Clark has said repeatedly that he did not hit her.

Seattle was criticized by many for selecting Clark in the draft earlier this month. Seahawks general manager John Schneider said last week that he is confident Clark did not strike the victim.

Clark was asked Friday if how people view him matters to him.

"I mean, it matters because at the end of the day, you don't want to be labeled a woman-beater and things of that nature," he said. "But at the same time, it doesn't bother me because I know what I did and what I didn't do. I put myself in a bad position. But there are only two people who know what happened.

"I've been honest and up front this whole time, as much as I can. That's all I can do."

Seattle coach Pete Carroll reiterated that the team did its due diligence on Clark and believes it made a good decision in drafting him.

"We really knew what we were getting into," Carroll said Friday morning on 710 ESPN Seattle radio. "The risk for us was: Is he really going to be a good player, or is he going to be a guy that's going to be a problem in the program? We feel like we've totally take care of that and we'll prove that, and we've given him the opportunity to prove that."

After practice Friday, Carroll added: "We found out what kind of kid this guy is, and we uncovered this is a young man that deserves an opportunity. I think he's going to be an asset and a positive and plus for us."

Clark said Carroll told him this would be a rocky road but to remain mentally strong.

"A weak person would have folded, but I've stayed mentally strong,'' Clark said. "All I can do is push forward. It's put behind me.

"I have a rocky past from the time I was born until now. At the age of 11, I was homeless. Me and my mother struggled. There were days where I was just looking for a meal. I had two older brothers that were sent away at young ages because they were into gangs. My mother found me going down those same paths."

Clark said he wants to bring awareness to domestic violence, a hot-button issue in the NFL over the past year.

"No woman -- nobody -- should go through it," he said.

He also said he wants to prove to everyone that he is a good person.

"If I could go back and change things, I would," Clark said. "I would change a lot of things. I'm not a complete or perfect person. I'm still learning. But I'm not a bad person at all. I'm a great guy to be around, and I want to gain the trust of everyone."

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