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#pounditThursday, May 23, 2024

Ryan Clark says Sean Payton has behaved like a ‘thug’

Ryan Clark on the ESPN set

ESPN analyst Ryan Clark unloaded on Sean Payton on Friday. At least two former Denver Broncos players feel the harsh criticism was warranted.

During Friday’s edition of “Get Up” on ESPN, Clark said he understands the business aspect of the Broncos wanting to move on from Russell Wilson. However, the former Pro Bowl defensive back blasted Payton for the way the coach has treated Wilson this season. Clark said Payton has been behaving like a “thug” all year.

“Let’s be honest, Sean Payton has behaved as a thug since he became the coach of the Denver Broncos,” Clark said. “Immediately when he gets in the building, he starts to undercut Russell Wilson personally and professionally from his first press conference on. He tells Russell Wilson you have to stop kissing babies and stop behaving as if you’re running for office. Nobody kissed more babies in New Orleans than Drew Brees.

“From the beginning he walked into this building and he had a point to prove with Russell Wilson — you’re gonna be just like everybody else. I’m gonna treat you just like I treat everybody else on the team. That’s not the way it works with franchise quarterbacks.”

Clark went on to say that Payton’s behavior toward Wilson was “unacceptable” from the day Payton was hired.

The take sounded a bit extreme, but two former Broncos players agreed. Kareem Jackson responded to a post about Clark’s rant via Instagram by commenting “Da truth RC.” Randy Gregory then replied “all facts” to Jackson’s comment.

It would obviously be more noteworthy if current Broncos players openly agreed with Clark. Gregory was traded earlier this season, and Jackson was waived after being suspended multiple times for illegal hits.

Calling Payton a “thug” seems harsh, but Payton definitely arrived in Denver with a “big man on campus” mentality. We saw that early on with the way he publicly trashed the Broncos’ previous coaching regime. It would hardly be a surprise if that rubbed some players the wrong way.

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