Getting your just dues isn’t always easy. Former NFL player Ryan Clark played in the league for years before receiving a check he felt reflected his value.

Clark’s journey into the league wasn’t conventional. He was signed to the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2002, after playing for the Louisiana State University (LSU) Tigers for four years, according to Pro Football Network.

Clark says his rookie signing bonus amounted to $1,000. However, after taxes he was left with even less, he shared on the “Funky Friday Clips with Cam Newton” podcast.

“I was [an] undrafted free agent. They gave me $1,000,” Clark recollected. “I remember after the draft, only the Saints and the Giants even offered me an undrafted rookie contract. By the time I got off the phone with my agent, the Saints had pulled it.”

He added, “I remember man after taxes, it was like $683 or something… and I just remember this is when Steve Maddens was hot. That was the only thing I bought.”

Per Spotrac, Clark was signed to a two-year contract worth $525,000. However, his time with the New York Giants was cut short when the team released him.

His next chapter would lead him to the Washington Redskins for one year. He played for two seasons between 2004 and 2005, according to CBS Sports. However, Clark would experience déjà vu as the team ultimately decided to cut him loose in mid-March of that last year.

Despite later receiving an offer to stay with the team under a minimum vet salary, Clark was not interested once he understood how the team perceived him and his value. According to him, his performance outshined that of Adam Archuleta, who received a higher salary, per The Washington Post.

Ultimately parting ways with the team served as his motivation while playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers between 2006 and 2013, according to CBS Sports.

Signing on to the team was an easy decision since it was his only offer on the table.

“At the time, all I had was one bill on the table. So it gave me no choice. I had to pick that,” he explained during the “Funky Friday” podcast.

Clark’s deal was a four-year contract valued at $7 million and he received a signing bonus of nearly $1.7 million. This was the first time he had seen his value reflected in his salary.

“My signing bonus was $1.7 [million] and that was my going into my fifth year…I cried all the way to the airport,” he expressed in the interview. “For me, after not being drafted, after being cut by the Giants, Washington giving Adam Archuleta — who I knew I was better than — the highest paid contract, telling me they had come back on vet minimum, it was the first time in the league I felt wanted. I wasn’t even crying about the money. I was just happy. I was like, ‘Finally somebody is saying you’re at least worth this.'”

Clark would go on to play for the the team for eight seasons before returning to the Washington Redskins for one season. He retired in 2015 with the Steelers.

Over the course of his career, Clark had 643 tackles and 16 interceptions under his belt, CBS Sports mentions.

Today, he can be seen on sports shows including “NFL Live,” “First Take,” “Get Up” and “SportsCenter.” He also co-hosts “The Pivot” podcast alongside former professional football athletes Channing Crowder and Fred Taylor.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Ryan Clark (@realrclark)