Frank Clark could have missed first month of season, says Brett Veach

Frank Clark, Kansas City Chiefs. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)
Frank Clark, Kansas City Chiefs. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images) /

In a recent interview, general manager Brett Veach says Frank Clark could have missed the first month of 2019 due to injury but he didn’t.

At this point, Frank Clark has silenced his detractors. Somehow a first Super Bowl in 50 years will do that for a player and a team. But it’s not difficult to recall the frustrations spilling over from Chiefs Kingdom during the first few weeks of the season when the Kansas City Chiefs defensive end wasn’t producing at expected levels.

Those levels were unfair for Clark to begin with, but in some ways, it’s easy to understand fan frustrations at the time. The Chiefs had just jettisoned proven pass rushers like Justin Houston and Dee Ford and then still traded away a first and second round pick for the right to pay Clark over $100 million to be the new dominant edge rusher for the Chiefs. It was a steep price to pay and fans wanted to see immediate dividends.

It also didn’t help that general manager Brett Veach sold Clark at such a high level. Veach spoke glowingly of Clark in the sorts of ways that he also did about quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the doggedness of a GM who knows what he likes and aggressively goes after it. This time, Chiefs Kingdom wanted to see on-field results yet it took some time.

Early in the 2019 season, if you’ll remember, Clark had a single sack through the first six games of the year. Such box score analysis is admittedly lazy, but the clamoring of fans at Arrowhead or on socials were openly questioning the price paid for Clark. The cost was disproportional to the on-field results.

It wasn’t until later in the year that Clark admitted what had gone wrong. Specifically a nerve issue had plagued him in his neck and the pass rusher had even lost feeling in a couple fingers. Instead of resting, Clark attempted to play through despite not being at his best. At midseason, Clark missed games eight and nine on the schedule and came back a changed man.

Check out what Veach had to say in a recent interview with Chiefs team reporter B.J. Kissel for the team’s podcast, In the Trenches.

“If you go back to those first three, four, five weeks, I’d say 80 percent of the league in that position wouldn’t have played. But that’s why we got him. He had a deal that he was working through and it would have been very easy for him to miss a month of the season, but he refused. He went out there every day, grinding through it, played in pain. then once we had that time in the middle of the season for him to get healthy, we saw the same Frank Clark we saw in Seattle.”

Here, Veach completely flips the script on what was once a point of frustration for Chiefs fans. Instead of pointing to the season’s first few weeks and using them to question the acquisition of Clark, Veach points to them as a demonstration for why he traded for him in the first place.

It’s a lesson for so many of us who can’t see behind the red and gold curtain at Arrowhead at all times to know what’s really going on—and another further reason to trust Veach that he knows what he’s doing.