INDIANAPOLIS — As a player at Clemson, Dwayne Allen watched the Indianapolis Colts call reverses for tight end Dallas Clark and needled his own coaching staff about incorporating a similar play into the game plan.
Now, he joked, he might have to take the matter up with Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton.
Though he never shared a locker room with his Indianapolis predecessor, it's clear Allen has a healthy respect for Clark.
"You talk about versatile guys at the position who really set the tone for different sizes and different abilities at the tight end position to come along, he's definitely one of them," Allen said. "A guy who could run reverses or split out and catch the slant, he's one of the first tight ends I saw do that."
Clark was back at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center on Wednesday to sign an honorary one-day contract and officially announce his retirement with the Colts.
Veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne, one of a handful of current players to have called himself Clark's teammate in Indianapolis, lobbied on the tight end's behalf when he bumped into Hamilton in the lunch line.
"Reggie said to me, 'Hey, we would have loved Dallas Clark in this offense' because of the things that we try and do with our tight ends, moving them out to the wide receiver spot and just allowing that guy to create matchups that are in our favor," Hamilton said. "I have a lot of respect for Dallas Clark and what he accomplished over his career, and we hope that Dwayne and Coby (Fleener) and the guys we have on our team now can follow in his footsteps."
Clark took an interesting path to the NFL.
During an emotional news conference in the team's cafeteria, he thanked Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz for converting him from a linebacker into a tight end and former Colts personnel boss Bill Polian for seeing the kind of player he could become.