EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Ryan Clark said he never called out quarterback Ben Roethlisberger following the Steelers' 0-4 start, which is what led the safety to chastise the media Sunday in an otherwise celebratory locker room.
Clark, whose third-quarter interception helped keep the Jets out of the end zone in a 19-6 win, was asked how he thought Roethlisberger had played following the Steelers' first win of the season. He made it clear he would not play along with a story that he contends has been blown out of proportion.
"I think it's funny how y'all find a way to make it a clash or make it a situation to where I said he played bad. I never said he played bad," Clark said of Roethlisberger. "I said in order for us to win we have to help him feel like he doesn't have to do too much because of a quote he had. He said that he had to guard against doing too much. I said we have to help him feel like he doesn't have to do too much."
Roethlisberger had committed six turnovers in the Steelers' previous two games.
During Pittsburgh's bye week, Clark spent a couple of days at ESPN appearing on various programs. One of his observations raised some eyebrows when it centered on the style of play that has made Roethlisberger a two-time Super Bowl winner.
"You have to protect Ben against Ben," Clark said. "Right now we have to tone Ben down in a sense and say, 'Hey, right now we're not a good enough football team for you to try to extend plays, for us to take sacks, for us to have turnovers.'"
Roethlisberger did not commit a turnover in the Steelers' win Sunday at MetLife Stadium, completing 23-of-30 passes for 264 yards and a touchdown. His passer rating of 113.8 was his best of the season.
"I think the offensive line blocked, we ran the ball well, receivers got open, we created turnovers," Clark said.
That, Clark said, is what he meant the Steelers needed to do when his Roethlisberger comments were taken out of context.
"I realize through doing media and certain things and being around certain people that you have make a story, that you have to figure out a way to twist a word, find a way to make something controversial," Clark said. "It's saddening because I do feel like I'm as intelligent as most of you guys and I feel like I say things in a way where you don't have to infer, you don't have to add an opinion, you don't have to figure out what I'm talking about."
Clark and Roethlisberger are two of the Steelers' captains, and Clark said there is no problem between the two.
"Ben Roethlisberger is the only reason why I have a Super Bowl [win]," Clark said. "He made an extremely good play to Santonio Holmes in the corner of the end zone when defensively we botched it. So for you guys to make that a stink and make that an issue, it's sad. I'm going to still talk to y'all because it's my job. How much respect I have for the people who ask those questions or the people who say those things, that's going to vary."