Knock on wood, but the Denver Broncos are a relatively healthy bunch. The same can’t be said for the Pittsburgh Steelers who announced Tuesday that safety Ryan Clark and running back Rashard Mendenhall will not play on Sunday.
Clark has a sickle-cell trait that when combined with high-altitude presents serious complications. After a 2007 game in Denver, Clark became seriously ill and had to have his spleen and gall bladder removed due to a blood reaction. He has not played a game in Denver, or even traveled with the team since then.
Mike Tomlin said that he would not let his son play in such a game if the situation presented itself, so there was no way that he would allow Clark to play.
Also out for Sunday – and the rest of the season for that mater – Rashard Mendenhall was placed on the IR Tuesday with a torn ACL. Mendenhall was injured in week 17 against the Cleveland Browns after only 8 carries.
The loss of Clark and Mendenhall hits the Steelers hard. Clark is a hard-hitting safety that leads the team in tackles with 100 on the season. Mendenhall leads the team in rushing with 61.9 yards per game and 9 touchdowns on the season.
Clark and Mendenhall’s absence is something that the Broncos need to take advantage of on both sides of the ball.