Position: Wide Receiver
Born: May 1, 1962
Date-of-Birth: Radford, Virginia
Weight: 180 lbs
College: James Madison University
NFL Career: 11 seasons, 167 games
Teams: Washington, 1985-1992
• Signed with Washington in 1985, after two years with the USFL’s Jacksonville Bulls
• Had five seasons over 1,000 yards receiving and four Pro Bowls appearances
• During his time with Washington, he had 549 receptions and 8,742 yards receiving – both rank third on Washington’s all-time list
• He finished his career with 699 receptions and 10,856 yards
• Two Time Super Bowl Winner
• Four Time Pro Bowler
• Two Time Redskin MVP
• Four Time All Pro
• Eight Time All Madden Team
• Member of the All Madden Super Bowl Team
• Led Washington in Receptions four out of 8 years
• Was first or 2nd in receptions for Washington, 6 out of 8 years
• Led Washington in Receiving Yardage 6 out of 8 years
• Was either first or second in receiving yardage 7 out of 8 years
• Finished Career as the 8th All Time Leading Receiver in NFL History (receptions)
• Finished Career as the 7th All Time Leading Receiver in NFL History (receiving yards)
• Considered by many to be the toughest Washington receiver ever
Gary Clark – Tough As Nails
Gary C. Clark was one of the toughest players in Redskin history – a bold statement for a 180 pound receiver. Fearless across the middle, a tenacious blocker, and a consummate professional, they don’t make them like this Radford, Virginian very often.
Clark’s sporting prowess began at Pulaski County High School. His athleticism allowed him to letter in three sports, track, baseball and football. It was his football skills that caught the attention of James Madison University (JMU).
JMU was about to start playing it’s first year of Division I-AA when Clark arrived at the school in Harrisonburg, Virginia in 1980. Surely even JMU didn’t envision the diminutive receiver making the impact that he did.
He would eventually catch a school record 155 career passes for 2,863 career yards and 16 career touchdowns – all receiving records at JMU.
He also broke a few special teams records as well with 3 career punt returns for touchdowns, two of which were 87 and 89-yards and in the same game in his senior season.
He earned All-American honorable mentions in both his junior and senior seasons (1982, 1983) and was the Virginia Offensive College Player of the year in 1982.
Clark’s college career garnered attention, and when the brand new United States Football League (USFL) held their first ever entry draft in 1984, Clark’s name was the 6th name called overall. The selection made Clark the first ever draft pick for the Jacksonville Bulls and the first player in JMU history to be drafted in the first round of a professional football league.
Gary led Jacksonville in receiving in his rookie season and in both receptions (56) and receiving yardage (760 yards). He also shouldered the punt return duties and shared in kick return duty as well.
The USFL was operating in the spring, so after spending 1984 and 1985 with Jacksonville, Clark joined the Washington Redskins for the 1985 season. The Redskins had drafted Clark in the 2nd round of the 1984 NFL supplemental draft in hopes that his USFL career would be short.
It didn’t take Clark long to make an impact in Washington either.
He led all NFL rookie receivers with 72 receptions and together with Art Monk, formed the league’s best receiving duo. Both receivers had over 1000 yards receiving.
In 1986, Clark would leapfrog Monk and lead the Redskins in both receiving and receiving yards, as well as earning his first Pro Bowl nomination.
It was 1987 that may have been Clark’s crowning Redskin season. Not only did he lead the team again in receptions and receiving yardage and earn his second pro bowl nod, but he also was a big part of the Redskins’ berth in Super Bowl XXII.
He scored the go-ahead touchdown in what turned out to be a blow out. Clark earned his first Super Bowl ring, and the Redskins honored him by bestowing him with Player of the Year honors.
Gary’s numbers fell off in 1988 (59 catches, 892 yards, 7 touchdowns) as the Redskins finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs.
The Redskins wouldn’t make the playoffs in 1989 either, but Clark logged another 1229 yards and 9 touchdowns on 79 receptions (career best). Amazingly, Clark, Monk AND Ricky Sanders all had 1000-plus yard seasons in 1989 despite not making the playoffs at 10-6.
But the Redskins would return to the playoffs in 1990, and Clark would return to the Pro Bowl for the third time on the strength of a 1,112 yard, 75 catch, 8 touchdown season. They would ultimately lose to the 49ers in the divisional playoffs, but Clark and the Redskins were on the cusp of one of the greatest NFL seasons ever.
That season of course was 1991. The Washington Redskins were 14-2 during the regular season, and every Redskin seemed to be having a banner year.
Clark himself managed to put up 1,340 yards and 10 touchdons (70 receptions). His 19-plus yard per catch average was second in the league, and he earned his fourth Pro Bowl nomination.
None of his 1991 performances were better than week eleven’s against the Atlanta Falcons. Washington thumped the Falcons 56-17 and Clark caught a bewildering 203 yards and three touchdowns on just four catches.
The Redskins would go on to win their third Super bowl, Clark’s second, in a 37-24 romp of the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI. Clark played a dominant role that day as well, as he always did, grabbing seven passes for 114 yards.
That was the end of the glory days for Clark and the Redskins. Joe Gibbs would retire in the 1992 season and Clark would depart for Arizona before the 1993 season began.
He retired in 1995 after eleven NFL seasons. He finished his career with 699 receptions, 10,856 yards, 65 touchdowns, and managed 27 100-plus yard receiving games for the Washington Redskins. He was of course named to the 80 Greatest Redskins list in 2002.
Whether running laps around the stadium, or doing touchdown leaps with other members of The Posse, it was Clark’s fire and grit that set him apart. He was named to the All-Madden team an impressive eight times for his tenacity and for his toughness.
John Madden saw it all along, Gary Clark was always a true legend.
– Mark Solway
Awards and Honors
1986 – Associated Press All-NFL (2nd Team)
1986 – Pro Football Weekly All-Conference (1st Team)
1986 – United Press International All-Conference (1st Team)
1987 – Associated Press All-NFL (1st Team)
1987 – Newspaper Enterprise Association All-NFL (2nd Team)
1990 – United Press International All-Conference (2nd Team)
1991 – Associated Press All-NFL (2nd Team)
1991 – Newspaper Enterprise Association All-NFL (1st Team)
1991 – United Press International All-Conference (1st Team)
• Attended JMU University in Harrisonburg, Va in 1980 where he graduated with a BS Degree in Social Science
• Was the first person in JMU history to have his Jersey retired… inducted into their HOF in 1994
• Ran a restaurant in Bethesda, MD called G.C’s New South Beach Restaurant and Martini Lounge
More Washington Legends Profiles