Seahawks Insider Blog

Seahawks ban Frank Clark from practice: “You have to earn the right to be out here”

Kris Richard on Seahawks punishing Frank Clark for punching teammate Germain Ifedi

Defensive coordinator said the incident "was completely unnecessary."
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Defensive coordinator said the incident "was completely unnecessary."

RENTON The Seahawks are punishing Frank Clark for slugging teammate Germain Ifedi to the ground in practice.

At least part of that punishment was not permitting the third-year defensive end who had 10 sacks last season from practicing on Friday, the fifth day of Seattle’s training camp.

“It’s part of it. That’s part of it. It’s a disciplinary action,” Richard said.

“You earn the right to be out here on the field with us. You earn the right to come out here and compete. And decisions that are going to be detrimental to us, then we certainly have to handle it internally.”

Clark, the third-year defensive end who had 10 sacks last season, came walking -- strolling, really -- onto the field at the start of practice Friday. He was not in shoulder pads and was wearing a new knee brace on his left leg, which he didn’t have in previous days. That was about 10 minutes after the start of drills. Some fans a few yards away called to him, and admired his shoes.

Clark soon went back inside team headquarters for the rest of practice. He missed the workout on a smoky, steamy, 90-degree day.

Ifedi walked out a few minutes before Clark, looking far less approachable. He left Thursday’s practice with a trainer while apparently bleeding from the face or mouth.

Coach Pete Carroll said after Thursday’s practice he didn’t know how injured Ifedi was then added, “he’s all right.”

Richard repeated what his boss said on Thursday, that there is no place for what Clark did in any practice, for any reason. Richard said for him, the line for what is unacceptable in actions during practices and games is “anything that’s not football related.”

“It’s not a football play,” Richard said of Clark punching Ifedi in the face and apparently bloodying him. “And it’s completely unnecessary.”

As I wrote Thursday, Ifedi wasn’t totally blameless in Thursday’s second of two fights in a heated pass-rush drill. Ifedi reignited the fighting after a first squall during the drill had calmed, by charging at some defensive linemen before the next snap. Plus, he didn’t have his helmet on. That left him wide open for Clark’s punch to his face. At the very least Ifedi is guilty of poor judgment, for the helmet and the charge.

The Seahawks did not give a reason for Ifedi’s absence from Friday’s practice. He had no visible cuts or other damage to his face.

Carroll is not scheduled to speak to the media again until Monday.

Carroll, like just about every coach of every sport in the free world, does not like his dirty laundry aired for the all to see. Any other punishment of Clark is likely to be internal, and will be explained as such, like Richard did on Friday. A fine is possible if not likely, and in this case certainly warranted.

During the summer of 2015 the league sent a memo to each of the 32 teams reinforcing that “the prohibition on fighting is a point of emphasis.”

But as Gary Myers of the New York Daily News wrote that summer in reporting about the NFL memo and all the fighting in camps around the league: “If players fight in a game, they get thrown out and fined by the league. If players fight in a camp practice, coaches often get upset but write it off as a rite of summer.”

Friday’s absences of Clark and of Ifedi showed that Thursday at Seahawks went beyond a mere rite of summer.