It’s now official — all three of the defensive linemen who started in week one for the Green Bay Packers will end the season on injured reserve. After Muhammad Wilkerson’s and Mike Daniels’ seasons ended earlier this fall, Kenny Clark is now headed to injured reserve. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported the news, which has not yet been confirmed by the Packers.
Clark suffered an elbow injury in the team’s week 14 victory over the Atlanta Falcons and was inactive on Sunday against the Chicago Bears. It seems possible that he may have been able to play down the stretch if the Packers were still alive in the playoff race, but with nothing to play for the team has apparently elected to shut him down for the final two games.
In his third NFL season, Clark emerged as the star on the Packers’ line, sustaining his late-season success from 2017. He recorded 4.5 sacks over the final five games last year, then kept that success going with six sacks this season in 13 games of action. He also forced one fumble and recovered two more this year.
Clark was named as a first alternate for the Pro Bowl on Tuesday evening, but this shutdown likely means that he will not make the team even if an alternate is needed. Clark’s four-year rookie contract runs through 2019, but it is a sure bet that the Packers will execute their team option for a fifth season in 2020 given his exceptional play.
With Clark’s season over, the Packers will suit up Dean Lowry, Tyler Lancaster, Montravius Adams, and Fadol Brown in the final two games of the season.