LOS ANGELES -- Dallas Clark is thirsty as hell, so he excuses himself to a drinking fountain that sits idly in a dark, neglected corner of this police station. Then, the NFL All-Pro bends at the waist, his lips already pierced, and pushes the release lever.
"Oh man, I thought this was a real fountain," says the red-faced Colts tight end. "Anyone have some water?"
Welcome to Hollywood, rookie, and to the set of the CBS drama series "Criminal Minds," where Clark is making his acting debut on Wednesday's episode in a cameo as San Diego Police Department detective Austin Kent. In the scene -- the brainchild of staff writer Rick Dunkle, a lifelong Colts fan -- Kent asks a few important procedural questions of the Behavior Analysis Unit during their presentation of a suspect's psychological profile to local law enforcement. After a few flawless takes and, earlier, a none-too-painful turn in a make-up chair, Clark says he's eager for more acting opportunities.
"Well, my hand-modeling career isn't going to happen, so I've got to take up the acting thing," Clark jokingly explains as he flashes a gnarly scar on his right wrist, a souvenir from his offseason surgery. "I'm just trying to contain all my excitement. I'm kind of scared to see how it'll unfold on TV, but all the feedback (I've received) was positive. Hopefully they weren't lying too much on that and I'll get a call-back."
At least one of Clark's seasoned co-stars liked the gridder's chances of reprising his role as the astute detective of few words.
"Dallas did a wonderful job," says Chicago-native Joe Mantegna, before admitting that his review was at least somewhat self-serving. "I'm hoping to convince Dallas to stay with the acting profession. That way, maybe my Bears will have a chance against his Colts."