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Packers DT Kenny Clark ready to go for 2020, never considered opting out

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Heading into a contract year, Kenny Clark is ready to get to work.

Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Kenny Clark never considered opting out of the 2020 season.

The Packers defensive lineman spoke with reporters via Zoom call Monday afternoon and said while he understands why others have chosen to sit out the 2020 season, he’s comfortable with the plans in place to keep players safe.

"Everybody has different situations. In my situation, with everything going on with me. My family’s healthy. My girlfriend’s healthy. I’m healthy. So I’m going to go out there and play,” he said.

“I feel safe here and I feel like the Packers are all on board with making sure we’re safe to play.”

Entering a contract year, Clark is poised to strike it rich in the near future, whether through an extension with the Packers, the franchise tag, or, somewhat unthinkably, on the open market next spring. But if his contract situation is on his mind, he didn’t bring it up. Clark instead spoke of the Packers’ need to improve their run defense, which the 49ers exposed as a glaring weakness twice in 2019.

The Packers didn’t bring in much noteworthy help on the defensive line, though, merely adding in low-level free agent Trayvon Hester and a couple undrafted free agents. But Clark thinks the pieces are there.

“I think we do have the guys in the room. I think our scheme is great. “We just have to capitalize.”

Improvement, then, must come from within, and Clark said second-year defensive lineman Kingsley Keke might be the prime candidate for significant improvement.

As to his own game, Clark is using the recent NFL 100 list as motivation for the 2020 season. Left off the list despite tying a career-high in sacks and setting new personal bests in tackles and tackles for a loss, Clark says he’s not sure what else he could do to make the cut.

“It messes with my mind. I don’t know what else I can do or show. I don’t know. I don’t know if people don’t respect me enough or if I’m [lined up] inside and they don’t see me as much. I don’t know”

But heading into what’s shaping up to be one of the weirder seasons in NFL history, he’s going to try.