The shark’s brash personality and no-nonsense demeanor endeared him to the Kingdom
Don’t cry because it’s over between the Chiefs and defensive end Frank Clark; smile because it happened.
Kansas City officially released the playoff point guard on Tuesday, bidding farewell with a social media send-off fit for a king.
‘The Shark’ cemented his legacy here at Chiefs Kingdom with his game and his personality,” General Manager Brett Veach wrote in a statement, released alongside a 78-second tribute video.
The move leaves Kansas City with $7.67 million in dead money – according to Observer — but frees up nearly $21 million in room in 2023.
“These decisions are never easy, but we wish him the best as he pursues his career,” Veach wrote of the 29-year-old pass thrower, who is expected to command attention in the open market.
“We appreciate the work he has done to help us get there,” added head coach Andy Reid.
In four seasons, Clark has helped Kansas City to the top of the mountain twice, collecting 34 total sacks and three Pro Bowl appearances en route to two Lombardi Trophies.
“He will always be part of our history here,” concluded Reid.
No longer featured in Kansas City’s immediate future, Clark’s Chiefs legacy lives on through the young players he mentored.
Rookie defensive lineman George Karlaftis, who has 6.5 sacks in the team’s last 10 games, often praised the 2015 second-rounder for his guidance during grueling St. Joe training camp sessions.
“He invested time in our young players to help them grow,” Andy Reid wrote in a farewell statement. “It shows you how passionate he is about the game.”
“I love you boy. Forever my vet,” his postmate Khalen Saunders tweeted Monday in reaction to Clark’s release.
Clark’s brash personality and no-nonsense demeanor helped him connect with teammates, coaches and fans throughout his tenure as Chiefs.
No big playoff win for the Frank Clark-era Kansas City Chiefs was complete without a viral phrase.
“They must not know who I am yet.”
“I smell the blood in the water.”
“Man, if they don’t get their butts back to Cincinnati.”
Acquired in Seattle ahead of the 2019 season, Clark’s bloated contract and sometimes selective engine sparked anger. Clark earned nearly $77.5 million in four seasons with the Chiefs, nearly $37 million more than tight end Travis Kelce over the same span.
Nagging injuries coupled with a September 2021 uncontested gun possession conviction sidelined the edge rusher for eight regular-season games. If the end of the 2021 season served Clark rocky bottom with Kansas City, the following season was his well done – as he rekindled the missing spark along the trenches.
A summer of losing red meat and booze paid off for Clark as KC finished second in the league in sacks (55).
Delivering in some of the Chiefs’ most critical playoff moments, Clark stood up to the criticism, etching a special place in the hearts of many across the Kingdom.
His first-half sack of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow in the 2022 AFC Championship Game helped win his third career Lamar Hunt Trophy – the prize his team was denied by mistake key to its predecessor.
Most Chiefs fans responded favorably when asked if they were planning a reunion, and it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility. NFL Network James Palmer cited Reid and Clark’s relationship as a reason he could possibly return.
But if “The Shark” kept swimming, Kansas City would just have to smile and wave, saying “see you later” until a possible “Ring of Honor” induction in the future.