Ryan Clark has never hesitated to speak his mind.
And the Pittsburgh Steelers free safety offered some strong opinions on Spygate, which still follows the New England Patriots more than six years after they were punished by the NFL for illegally videotaping opponents.
Former Steelers coach Bill Cowher downplayed the impact of Spygate this week, specifically in regard to the 2004 AFC Championship Game. The Patriots beat the Steelers 41-27 at Heinz Field, but Cowher told 93.7 The Fan that New England was simply the better team that day.
Clark did not play in that game -- he signed with the Steelers in 2006 -- but he was not nearly as generous as Cowher in assessing the sustained success the Patriots have enjoyed under coach Bill Belichick.
Clark weighed in on the subject Thursdsay on ESPN's "Numbers Never Lie."
“He’s a good coach. He has a Hall of Fame quarterback, and it’s not taking away from what they’ve done, but there should be an asterisk by it,” Clark said of the three Super Bowls that the Patriots won from 2001-04.
Clark agreed with Cowher that stealing signals has long been part of the game.
But he said the Patriots crossed a line with the methods that led to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell fining Belichick $500,000 in 2007 and also fining the Patriots $250,000 while taking away their first-round draft pick in the following year’s draft.
“Filming it and trying to get it during a game are two different things. When we play teams who have had players or coaches who have been a part of the Pittsburgh Steelers organization we change things,” Clark said. “We may have (inside linebacker) Larry Foote get signals from another guy, and another coach fakes signals. It’s no secret that people try to get signals, but when you film it you take it to a whole other level.”
Here is a peek at what else is going on around the AFC North:
ESPN.com Browns reporter Pat McManamon ponders the future of steady and productive inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson in Cleveland.
ESPN.com Bengals reporter Coley Harvey takes a look at new defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, who will forge his own path after succeeding Mike Zimmer in Cincinnati.
So much for the concept of home-field advantage. That is ESPN.com Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley’s take on the unusually high number of false-start penalties that Baltimore had in 2013 at M&T Bank Stadium.