Frank Clark and the Kansas City Chiefs restructured his contract to a two-year, $29 million deal this offseason, ensuring his return to the team.
But it was predated by a heart-to-heart chat between Clark and head coach Andy Reid.
Clark spoke to the media on Saturday and recounted the nuts and bolts of that talk following last season. In short, Reid told Clark his play in 2021 wasn't up to snuff.
"It was flat out, 'I know the type of player you are. You know the type of player you are. You didn't show that this season,' flat out," Clark told reporters Saturday of Reid's message to him.
Clark started all 14 games he played last season, registering 4.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. The sack total was Clark's lowest since his rookie season with the Seattle Seahawks. In three playoff games last season, he had a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery but zero sacks and only seven tackles.
The Chiefs brought Clark back this season also used a first-round pick on pass rusher George Karlaftis and just recently added Carlos Dunlap, who had 8.5 sacks last season with Seattle and has 96 in his career.
So Clark knew he'd have to change a few things in his lifestyle this offseason in order to return to the form that saw him as one of the biggest contributors for the Chiefs' Super Bowl run at the end of the 2019 season.
The biggest changes, Clark revealed, were cutting out red meat from his diet and eliminating alcohol.
"I stopped drinking liquor," he said. "Alcohol is a big factor in a lot of things as far as weight, that cut, it all is sugar. So at the end of the day, I stopped drinking liquor right after the season, honestly."
Clark had suffered chronic stomach issues, dating back to at least 2018, when he was a member of the Seahawks. When they flared up again this offseason, he figured out what the problem likely was.
"It was February (when) I was sick, having stomach problems and gastrointestinal problems," Clark said. "I haven't had any (issues) since I stopped drinking liquor, and it kind of started making more sense.
"As I'm going on, I'm training, I feel my body is responding to me. I'm able to get up. I'm able to work out all times of day, all times of night. It was a commitment I made."
That commitment also was spurred by a greater sense of responsibility for family. Clark was inspired to do better for himself as a way of sending the right message to his family, too. He said he knew he was drinking too much — and had been for years.
"I was drinking liquor to the point where, as a young kid coming into the league, it's normal coming out of college," he said. "I went to Michigan; I went to a big party school. I enjoyed it when I did it. It's fun, you know? After a game, times in between …
"At some point you've got to grow up. I've got three kids. I've got kids looking at me every day, my 6-year-old daughter looking at daddy to make the right decisions. I can't afford to be nowhere drunk, nowhere missing days, missing anything important. I've got too many important dates coming up in my life."
The Chiefs surely hope Clark's new health regimen pays off with a fruitful 2022 season.