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Clark 'Ready to Go' If Clady's Injury Lingers


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --** Though the news of his two-year contract extension comes as Ryan Clady has recently suffered a left foot injury, Chris Clark is not trying to replace anyone.

"I'm just going to prepare the same way and do things the way it should be done. It's not about filling a guy's shoes for me," Clark said Tuesday. "It's about me creating my legacy or whatever - just helping the team the best way I can - doing my job."

It was announced on Monday that the Broncos had signed the fifth-year tackle through the 2015 season, but Clark said that he stayed away from those talks. He did admit that the result was "awesome."

Clady's injury potentially opens the door for Clark to see more time at left tackle - just as Clady's recovery did this offseason. Clark was able to build some chemistry with the first-team offensive linemen and quarterback Peyton Manning from the spring through the preseason.

Given that time with the first unit, Head Coach John Fox said on Monday that he has the "utmost confidence in Chris Clark."

Clark described that opportunity as very helpful. 

"You get a chance to learn different things, snap counts, different things like that, and learn (Manning's) rhythm," Clark said. "Sometimes you can jump the ball before it comes out of his mouth because we know his rhythm. Getting different things like that, that definitely helps me as a tackle."

He also said that he's had the opportunity to learn from Clady, watching how he moves and makes use of his hands and feet.

"You try to mimic those things because he's been a great player and those things will help me a lot," Clark said.

Players in the locker room said they're unsure exactly the extent of Clady's injury, and Clark said "we're just taking it a day at a time and just hoping for the best."

"With our mentality of next man up, I think the best part about this team is having depth," wide receiver Eric Decker said. "I think we do have a lot of guys that can fill a position. Chris Clark is one guy that is going to step up."

Should Clark step into Clady's starting role, it wouldn't be his first start ever, though it would be his first as an NFL left tackle.

Clark started his career as a college free agent in 2008 and ended up spending his first two seasons on the Vikings' practice squad. He joined the Broncos in 2010 and appeared in eight games that season and every game in both the 2011 and 2012 regular seasons.

In 2011, Clark earned six starts at tight end. He was largely used as a blocker - he called his position the "open inside tackle" - but he noted Tuesday that it's good that he's not staring down his first career start.

"If it was (my first start) that would be a little nerve-wracking but I'm comfortable," he said. "I feel I'm ready to go. Like I say, you put your best foot forward and you do your thing."

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