Not every player in the NFL is dealing with 'character issues' off the field.
The irony of the night wasn’t lost on Dallas Clark. While the NFL world was buzzing about the moral failings of Ben Roethlisberger, the Livermore native was being honored in his home state for his good character.
“As an NFL player, as just a regular person in general, or whatever you are, it definitely raises your attention and definitely makes you aware of making the right choices and putting yourself in good situations,” the Indianapolis Colts tight end and former Iowa football star said of Roethlisberger, the Pittsburgh quarterback who was accused last month of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old woman in Georgia.
“That’s what Coach (Jim) Caldwell always talks about and always stresses — making good choices and putting youself in places where bad things aren’t going to happen,” Clark said at the Hy-Vee Conference Center in West Des Moines, where he was slated to receive the Ray Pillar of Character Award later this evening.
“I’m not going to sit here and say he’s right. I’m certainly not going to say he’s wrong, because I’m not going to speak … about that specific case. But just in general, it just makes you aware of the decisions you make.”
The Ray Award, presented by Character Counts In Iowa, is named for former Iowa governor Robert D. Ray and given to an Iowan who has “demonstrated a commitment to being a person of good character.” Past Ray award-winners include former Hawkeye football coach Hayden Fry, Olympic gold-medalist Shawn Johnson, and Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug.
“And we’re adults. And you try to make those choices the right ones but obviously there are influences out there — right wrong, indifferent, whatever,” said Clark, roughly nine weeks removed from his second Super Bowl appearance with the Colts, a 31-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints. “It’s unfortunate but I hope that he — you know, you just try to make sure that you to everything that you can and make the right decisions.
“It’s a business. And you have to make sure that your business is running smoothly and that’s what (the owners’) job is, too. So obviously, as a player you try not to do anything that causes any negative attention to your program or to your organization. You definitely have to be careful (with) whatever you do.”