Chiefs DE Clark: Past has made me better person

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs added another player with a history of domestic abuse this week when they traded for defensive end Frank Clark.

Clark was thrown off his collegiate team at Michigan after being arrested on charges of domestic violence in a case involving a girlfriend in 2014. Clark eventually pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct in the case.

It's a raw issue in Kansas City, where the Chiefs released Kareem Hunt last year after video surfaced of the star running back shoving and kicking a woman and this week suspended receiver Tyreek Hill after audio of a conversation he had with his fiancée about the circumstances under which their 3-year-old son broke his arm surfaced on Thursday.

Clark said on Friday he's not what he seems to be on the surface and that's he's a different person than what others might think.

"I feel like everyone has got to get a chance to know me,'' Clark said at his introductory news conference. "I know what they read. I know everything people see and I know the perception people can have. That's easy. But I just feel like the hard part is actually getting to know somebody. I feel like once everyone does that, they'll understand me as a person.

"I feel everything I've done from that point has been opening up about my past and just hoping people understand the type of person I am and where I come from. When you do something like that and go through something like that, you can come out on [either of] two sides. You can come out positive or you can come out negative. I definitely feel like this is one of the things that happened in my life amongst all the things that have happened that definitely made me better, a better person, a better father and just more understanding, more compassionate and just made my heart a little bit bigger.''

Clark's background also includes some time when he was homeless as a youth. He's now an advocate for the homeless.

"When Frank came in, the first thing we talked about is that a player of his magnitude coming in here with this contract, he has a platform now,'' said Chiefs general manager Brett Veach, who signed Clark to a five-year contract worth $105 million. "He has the ability to reach the community. If you did the homework and you talk to people in Seattle, the things he was able to do to help homeless shelters out there, help people in need and the kids in need, that's real. He's done this. It isn't made up.

"Frank can relate to a lot of people going through some rough times. I don't think there are a lot of people who have gone through quite a road that Frank has, being on the street and being homeless and really just finding a way, finding a purpose in life [while living in] homeless shelters, sleeping on the street. It would have been very easy for Frank to quit and give up because he's been through a lot. Now Frank has the opportunity to go in the community and meet people that are feeling the same way and share a story that if he can do it, others can do it. I think it's important and I think Frank is going to do that.''

Clark said he couldn't offer the Chiefs or their fans assurances about what the future might bring but said he works toward being a better person every day.

"It's been a long road,'' he said. "But it's been a road I've been happy to travel. At the end of the day, nothing is easy in life. I've been through plenty of storms, but I've weathered them all. I know I'm going to go through more stuff in life.

"I don't get complacent in thinking I'm perfect or everything is going to be fine or money makes everything fine. I know there are going to be more things I'm going to go through. I know there are more rocks and more challenges thrown. I feel I've just got to keep on doing what I've been doing and that's staying persistent in my actions in the community, staying persistent in my actions with my teammates.''