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New York Jets training camp

Getty New York Jets guard Cameron Clark never recovered from his training camp injury last summer.

On February 2, 2022, it was revealed that New York Jets 2020 fourth-round pick Cameron Clark would be retiring from the NFL.

This news came less than six months after a scary training camp injury left him motionless on the ground of the practice field and eventually saw him evacuated to a nearby hospital. What was first considered a neck issue turned into a spinal cord injury that could “risk paralysis” going forward.

On April 26, Clark’s tenure with Gang Green officially ended.

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Jets Make Things Official

This was always expected but the Jets finally waived Clark officially last night. Dennis Waszak Jr. of the Associated Press was the first to report.

“Jets waived OL Cameron Clark with a failed physical designation,” he tweeted. “Clark, a 4th-rd pick in 2020, missed all of last season with a spinal cord injury. The move Tuesday was expected after Rich Cimini reported in Feb. that Clark was retiring from playing on advice from his docs.”

A 280-character end to a brief and tragic career.

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Clark’s College Days Brought Promise

The offensive lineman was a fan favorite out of the draft. Although he played tackle in college, many considered him better-suited to switch over to guard at the professional level.

With problems on the interior O-line at the time, fans were ready for a younger prospect to step up and steal a starting role. Clark was pegged as the man to do just that but unfortunately, those dreams never came to fruition.

The two-year team captain and three-year starter out of Charlotte fit the new Joe Douglas standard for drafting. He brought the right character off the field and played with the necessary effort and grit on it.

Clark was deemed so important to his college team that he was even voted Offensive MVP in 2017 — a rarity for offensive linemen. He was named first-team all-conference two years later in 2019.

After practically redshirting his rookie campaign, Clark was poised to challenge Greg Van Roten for the starting right guard job in 2021. Like everyone else, he was learning a new system so it’s unclear what might have happened if fate had not taken the wheel — but considering ‘GVR’ was benched later in the year, one could assume that the youngster might have received his first NFL opportunity.

In the end, he did not register an appearance for the Green & White. The franchise has since moved on with Laken Tomlinson and Alijah Vera-Tucker, a guard pairing with an incredible ceiling, but Clark should not be forgotten.

His story should serve as a reminder that the game of football can be rough and unforgiving. Any moment on the gridiron can be a player’s last, due to the physicality and the nature of the sport.

Whatever the next steps may be, we wish Cameron well.

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Source: Heavy

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