Riders’ OL Dan Clark on 2019 CFL all-star selection: ‘maybe the car accident made me tougher’

Saskatchewan Roughriders’ Canadian offensive lineman Dan Clark was involved in a car accident last May and the Regina native believes it contributed to the best season of his CFL career.

Clark started all 18 regular season games at centre for the Riders in 2019 and was named a league all-star for the first time in eight seasons on an active roster in the prairies.

“Maybe the car accident made me tougher. It all accumulated together properly and made it special for myself, especially coming off the car accident,” Clark said on 620 CKRM radio’s The SportsCage.

“My body actually cooperating with me for a year and staying out of the trainers room. There’s not many years left in this old body, so I’ll take as many as I can get.”

The 32-year-old first joined Saskatchewan in 2009 following a stint with the Regina Thunder of the Canadian Junior Football League. Clark was scheduled to become a free agent in February 2022 and is now under contract through February 2023.

“I understand with a lot of guys going one-year, you never know what’s going to happen with the contract talks of collective bargaining agreements, it ain’t about that for me,” Clark said.

“It’s about security and knowing that I don’t ever have to move my family or hopefully don’t ever have to move my family away from the province that I love so much. It’s a place that I want to continue to go to work. Two years, three years, four years, 10 years, whatever is willing to be done is better for myself.”

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Clark helped Saskatchewan win the 101st Grey Cup on home soil in 2013, the fourth CFL championship in team history. The local product wants to bring the Riders another Grey Cup in 2021 or 2022, the latter of which will be played in Regina.

“The Saskatchewan Roughriders we still need to have in mind that we’re going to be hoisting that Grey Cup in Hamilton. A lot of it has to do with (general manager) Jeremy (O’Day) and coach (Craig) Dickenson, establishing what the ‘S’ is meaning again to this province and to its team — that’s special,” Clark said.

“I don’t think we think we could’ve been that good, we were that good. The 2019 Saskatchewan Roughriders were such a resilient group. It didn’t matter what was put in front of us. We just held it together and it’s special.”

For his efforts during Saskatchewan’s 13-5 record and first place finish in the West Division last season, Clark was the unanimous selection for the Riders’ Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman. The veteran national wants to be back between the white lines in 2021.

“I sure miss hitting people with my skull, I can’t wait to get back on the football field to do that. Hopefully football brings back a lot of fun to those people,” Clark said.

“It’s a special time when we can storm the field at Mosaic and bring that crowd together and have something to cheer for. It’s been built up for years, and years, and years.”

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