Dallas Dean Clark is a professional American football tight end for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League.
Clark was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on June 12, 1979. He graduated from Twin River Valley High School located in Bode, Iowa, where he was a multi-sport star. He earned four letters in football, basketball, and track, along with five letters in baseball. In his freshman year, Clark earned honorable mention all-conference honors in football. He was also second team all-conference as a sophomore. In his his junior year, Clark was named his team's most valuable player, followed by a first-team all-conference and honorable mention all-state selection after recording 140 tackles. He was team captain and MVP again during his senior year, recording 160 tackles, and subsequently earned first-team all-conference and second-team all-state honors. He came from a family of athletes, with his brother Darrick playing linebacker at Iowa State University from 1996 to 1997, and his other brother Dan playing baseball and football at Simpson College.
Clark attended the University of Iowa, where he played for the Iowa Hawkeyes football team from 1999 to 2002. He did not see action during the 1999 season, but finally saw the field in 2000. Clark played on special teams and made six tackles during the season as a linebacker. Prior to the 2001 season, the Iowa coaching staff decided to move Clark to the tight end position. He started 10 games at tight end for Iowa in 2001, catching 38 passes for 539 yards and four touchdowns on the season. He also played special teams, recovering an onside kick to clinch a win against the Pennsylvania State University and recording five tackles on that year. Clark was named honorable mention All-Big Ten Conference.
After being granted a scholarship for 2002, Clark started all 13 games as he helped lead Iowa to its first undefeated conference season in 80 years. He was the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week against Purdue University. During that game, he caught three passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns. Clark's first touchdown came in the third quarter, when he broke a Purdue tackle and raced 95 yards for a touchdown. It was the longest pass play in Kinnick Stadium history and the second-longest in the school team's history. His second touchdown came with a minute and seven seconds left in the game. With the Hawkeyes trailing, 28-24, Clark caught a seven-yard pass on fourth and goal from quarterback Brad Banks to give Iowa a 31-28 win.
Clark was the 2002 recipient of the John Mackey Award, which is presented to the most outstanding tight end in college football, a first-team All-Big Ten selection, and a unanimous first-team All-American. In addition, he won the Kenny Yana Award at the end of the 2002 season, as he helped lead Iowa to the Big Ten title and an 11-2 record. Although he had one more year of eligibility remaining, Clark decided to enter the 2003 NFL Draft. He left the University of Iowa with 1,281 career-receiving yards acquired in just two years at the tight end position.
Clark was chosen during the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts with the 24th pick. When drafted, the team referred to Clark as a "perfect fit" for their system, eventually replacing Marcus Pollard and Ken Dilger at the position. He started 10 games as a rookie and had 340 receiving yards. Clark later suffered a broken leg during a game against the New England Patriots. Recovering from the injury, he started 15 games in 2004 and had 423 yards receiving with five touchdown receptions.
Clark started 15 games in 2005 and caught 37 passes for 488 yards and four touchdowns. He started in 11 games in the 2006 season. During a game against the Philadelphia Eagles on November 26, 2006, he suffered a knee injury. Clark recovered and returned for the playoffs. He played very well leading up to the Colts' first Super Bowl berth since their moving to Indianapolis. In the Colts' three playoff games, he caught a total of 17 passes for 281 yards as a member of the 2006 Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts. During the 29-17 victory game, in which the Colts played against the Chicago Bears, he caught four passes for 36 yards and rushed the ball once for a one yard gain. In 15 starts in 2007 season, Clark had 58 receptions for 616 yards. Through this, he shattered the previous record held by John Mackey, for receptions for a tight end (55) and touchdowns (11).
On February 19, 2008, the Colts placed the franchise tag on Clark. The next day, the Colts signed him to a six-year contract extension, with his salary averaging $4.5 million per year ($41 million in total). This made him the highest-paid tight end in the NFL.
On December 28, 2008, Clark broke the Colts' franchise record for yards in a season by a tight end (848). The record was also previously held by John Mackey. On September 21, 2009, Clark had a career high of 183 receiving yards and a touchdown in just seven receptions. These were attained during the Monday Night Football match up against Miami Dolphins. This was also the fourth-highest receiving yards ever for a tight end in NFL history. On November 8, 2009, during a game against the Houston Texans, Clark caught 14 balls, another a career high for him. He was soon named AFC Offensive Player-of-the-Week because of this performance. On January 3, 2010, during a game against the Buffalo Bills, Clark caught his 100th reception of the season, being the second tight end to do so in NFL history. He ended the 2009 season with 100 catches for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns.
On October 17, 2010, Clark sustained a wrist injury while playing against the Washington Redskins. He was put on the injured reserve on October 22, 2010, after a season-ending wrist surgery. He completed the season with 37 catches for 347 yards and three touchdowns. Clark's surgically repaired wrist would again hinder his production in the 2011 regular season, limiting him to 34 receptions for 357 yards and two touchdowns in only 11 games. This was also the first season Clark played without quarterback Peyton Manning, who missed the entire season while he was rehabbing from an off-season neck surgery. Clark was released by the hospital on March 7, 2012. On June 18, 2014, Clark signed a one-day contract with the Colts, so that he could retire as a member of the team.