Clark Says He Felt Left Out With Browns

By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) - Dwight Clark wasn't going to let his second career in the NFL slip away or sit by and watch someone else run the Cleveland Browns.

So rather than take a lesser role in the front office, Clark resigned Monday as the club's executive vice president and director of football operations.

"I didn't feel good about some of the things that were going on in the building," Clark said. "I'm not mad at anybody. I just didn't feel good about my role."

Clark, who had been with the Browns since 1998, said Tuesday that he no longer felt needed in Cleveland. He also said he couldn't coexist any longer with coach Butch Davis.

Clark's role had been reduced with the Browns ever since Davis was hired to replace Chris Palmer as coach 17 months ago.

When Davis then brought in Pete Garcia, his longtime assistant at the University of Miami, Clark knew his departure was inevitable.

Garcia has been instrumental in some of Davis' biggest player acquisitions, including first-round draft picks Gerard Warren and William Green.

"Butch had his right-hand man for seven years whom he trusted," Clark said. "I have no problem with that. It just didn't work for me to be here when Butch already has his right-hand man."

Clark strongly denied reports that he and Davis didn't get along and that there had been friction between them.

"Butch is a special coach and a special person," Clark said. "I have a very good relationship with Butch. His family and my family are close. He told me he wished I would stay."

Clark said he became concerned about his role with the Browns midway through last season and expressed his feelings to the team's president, Carmen Policy.

"There were things going on in the building that were slipping by me and Carmen and ending up in the papers," he said.

Clark had been with the Browns since they returned to the NFL as an expansion team in 1999. He was Policy's hand-picked general manager and had worked with him since 1982, when both were with the San Francisco 49ers.

Clark's greatest moment as a player came when he made "The Catch" in the 1981 NFC championship game to give the 49ers a victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

"I'm looking forward to having Carmen back as a friend and not my boss," Clark said.

Clark, 45, was in the fourth year of a five-year, $5 million contract with the Browns. Policy said Monday that the team had agreed on a severance package with Clark.

Clark said Policy also had asked him to remain with the club.

"I didn't feel good about the role and I talked to Carmen," he said. "The more I talked with him, the more he agreed with me that it wasn't the right thing for the Browns.

"I didn't feel good about what I was being asked to do. I didn't feel good about the way the Keith Kidd decision went down."

Kidd was fired as the club's player personnel director. He was one of the first executives hired when Clark came to Cleveland.

"I was a little bit in shock because I didn't expect it," Clark said. "I told the coach I didn't like the way (the Kidd decision) went down, and he understood why I felt that way."

Clark said that he wants to remain in pro football and that his agent, Marvin Demoff, would look into job openings in the NFL, including the current vacancy in Atlanta.

Last week, Harold Richardson resigned as the Falcons' general manager.

Clark also said he would contact television networks about a job as a color analyst.

"I'm very excited about what is next in my life," he said. "I'm just not sure what it is."

As for the job he did with the Browns, Clark said he was proud of helping the organization get started and took credit for the Browns' decision to draft quarterback Tim Couch and defensive end Courtney Brown in 1999.

"I think they'll prove they are great players and something this team can be built on," he said.

Clark said also he feels unfulfilled on leaving Cleveland.

"We didn't win a title so there's no great accomplishment here," he said.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)