Seattle goes with defensive line taking Michigan's Clark
RENTON, Wash. (AP) Frank Clark knew the questions were coming about his troubled past, including an arrest six months ago on a domestic violence charge.
The Seattle Seahawks knew the questions were coming, too.
''They asked me to the point it echoed through my mind,'' Clark said. ''After a while they stopped asking me. I'm sure they felt confident in the answers I was giving them.''
The Seahawks went with Clark despite his off-field problems, selecting the defensive end from Michigan with the No. 63 overall pick in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday night.
Clark was kicked off Michigan's roster last November following his arrest in Ohio and agreed to a plea deal last month that dismissed the first-degree misdemeanor charges for domestic violence and assault and had him accepting a charge of persistent disorderly conduct, a fourth-degree misdemeanor.
Seattle general manager John Schneider said there was an extensive process in researching Clark and making the pick, including multiple interviews and speaking with counselors working with Clark and the victim in the case. Schneider said no one with the team spoke directly with the victim.
A few years ago, Schneider told local media that any player that put his hands on a woman was a ''dealbreaker'' for him. Schneider said Friday night that still stands.
''It was crucial we did all of the work that we did, all of the meetings, all of the interviews, all of the questions asked to get to the point that we trusted we knew what was going on, that we understood the situation and we could go ahead and give him a chance,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
Clark is 6-foot-2 and 277 pounds. He appeared in 46 games and made 26 starts for the Wolverines and is projected to be a LEO defensive end with Seattle.
But most of the focus will be on his issues away from football. He pleaded guilty to stealing another student's laptop in 2012 and was kicked off the Wolverines roster last November after being arrested on misdemeanor domestic violence and assault charges in Ohio.
Officers in Perkins Township, near Sandusky, Ohio, said they responded to calls about a disturbance at a hotel and found Clark in the parking lot with bloody scratches on his nose and the odor of alcohol ''emanating'' from him, according to the police report. Inside, they found two broken lamps and a woman, Diamond Hurt, with a welt on her cheek and blood on one side of her head.
Hurt's 15-year-old brother told police Clark ''grabbed (Hurt) by her throat, picked her up off the ground and slammed her to the ground while also landing on top of her.''
''I simply put myself in the position where I shouldn't have been there,'' Clark said. ''There is no better way I could say it. I shouldn't have been in the situation in the first place. I'm a grown man. I take full responsibility for everything that happened. I take full responsibility for my past, for my freshman year with the laptop. It's just something I have to learn from and get better from. ... I can't go back and change the hands of time. I can only get better with my future.''
Schneider said he was doing a scouting trip to Michigan in the days after Clark was arrested and the reaction around the football program was shock.
''You actually look for reasons to not have people on your board to bring into your building,'' Schneider said. ''Over the course of time we did so much research on him we were comfortable doing that.''
Asked if the information the team received indicated Clark never put his hands on the victim, Schneider said, ''Yup.''
Carroll and Schneider said Clark will be under closer watch than others Seattle has drafted.
''Our expectation for him is he's got to toe the line and do a great job in this program,'' Carroll said. ''Our standards of expectations are elevated.''
Seattle entered the draft with more picks than any other team - 11 - but was the final team to make its first pick in the draft when the Seahawks selected Clark with the next-to-last pick of the second round.
That number of picks was slashed when Seattle traded up in the third round to select wide receiver Tyler Lockett from Kansas State, filling a need both at receiver and returner. Seattle swapped third-round picks with Washington and sent picks in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds to the Redskins to move up and select Lockett.
Lockett is the all-time leading receiver in Kansas State history and was a two-time Big 12 special teams player of the year. He was drafted for his ability as a punt and kickoff returner.
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