Wednesday's NFL: Chiefs invite more scrutiny by signing Clark

Associated Press
Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill is dealing with another domestic violence incident that centers on his 3-year old child.

Kansas City, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs have made a habit of inciting controversy during the NFL draft in the Andy Reid era by acquiring players that have a history of off-the-field issues.

This year, they didn’t even wait until the draft.

The Chiefs swung a blockbuster trade with the Seahawks on Tuesday to acquire pass rusher Frank Clark for a package of picks, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press. The two sides then reached an agreement on a $105.5 million, five-year contract that was contingent on Clark passing a physical, which was expected to be completed Wednesday.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal, which sent the Chiefs’ first-round pick this year and a second-rounder next year to Seattle, had not become official.

That didn’t stop fans, talk-radio hosts and people from just about every walk of life in Kansas City from debating the merits of bringing on yet another player with baggage.

The team took a chance on cornerback Marcus Peters, who was traded away after getting into trouble with coaches. It drafted running back Kareem Hunt, then quickly cut him when he kicked a woman in a hotel hallway. And it picked wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who is currently dealing with a domestic violence case that centers on the 3-year-old child he shares with his fiance but has yet to be charged.

While Clark has stayed out of trouble during four years in the NFL, he was kicked off the team at Michigan when he was charged with first-degree domestic violence and assault following an incident with his then-girlfriend. The charges were later reduced to fourth-degree persistent disorderly conduct and Clark completed a domestic violence course and paid court costs and fines.

One organization that called the trade “disconcerting” was the Rose Brooks Center, which has been providing a safe haven for victims of domestic violence for 40 years.

“Organizations and other systems have a community responsibility to hold offenders accountable, just as Rose Brooks Center does, in order to end the epidemic of domestic violence,” the center said in a statement. “When we do not hold offenders accountable, it sends a message of acceptance not only to the offender, but to the victim, reducing the likelihood that a victim will come forward.”

The Chiefs have not commented on the trade because it has yet to become official, though the team did tweet video from the locker room of a No. 55 jersey with Clark’s name on it.

His arrival continues a trend of the Chiefs giving players with off-the-field history a second chance, with mixed results.

Hill completed a series of steps to have the original domestic violence charges expunged, and he had stayed out of trouble until last month. That’s when police were called to his home twice in a span of nine days to investigate a report of child abuse and battery of a juvenile.

Hill has not been charged but his child has been temporarily placed in protective care.

“He is here,” Reid said of Hill last week, when the Chiefs reported for the start of offseason workouts.

“I don’t want to make judgment on anything other than he is here and he is working. We don’t have anything else. That’s kind of what we got.”

General manager Brett Veach also declined to discuss the case.

“I think it’s going to work itself out here,” Veach said, “and we’ll deal with the information as it comes. Like I said, there’s nothing I’d probably be in a position to say right now on that.”

Roethlisberger is extended

The Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, a two-time Super Bowl winner, agreed to terms on a contract extension that will keep Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh through the 2021 season.

Roethlisberger had been set to enter the final year of a contract he signed in 2015. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Roethlisberger figures to get a significant pay bump over the $12 million he was due (with a $23 million cap hit) in 2019.

Roethlisberger, who turned 36 last month, is coming off the finest statistical season of his 15-year career. His 5,129 yards passing led the NFL and his 34 touchdown passes broke his own franchise mark.

Personnel dept.

The Cowboys have picked up the fifth-year option on Ezekiel Elliott’s rookie contract, keeping the star running back with the club at least through 2020.

Elliott, a two-time NFL rushing champion, is set to make $3.9 million this season and $9.1 million in his fifth year unless Elliott and the team agree on a contract before then.

... The 49ers have picked up the fifth-year option on defensive lineman DeForest Buckner’s rookie contract.

Buckner will make about $12.5 million in 2020 under the option picked up on Wednesday. It will be guaranteed on the first day of the 2020 league year.

Buckner was selected seventh overall in 2016 out of Oregon. He’s coming off his best season with a career-high 12 sacks, 67 tackles, three passes defensed and one fumble recovery.

... Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, 29, has agreed to a four-year extension designed to keep him under contract through the 2023 season.

Since breaking into the league as an undrafted free agent in 2012, Tucker has made 90.1% of his field goal tries – the highest career percentage in NFL history. He made 35 of 39 tries in 2018, missing only from 53 and 65 yards and getting two blocked.