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Frank Clark says he played whole season at 60 percent due to elbow injuries

Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 16: Nick Mullens #4 of the San Francisco 49ers is hit by Frank Clark #55 of the Seattle Seahawks during their NFL game at Levi’s Stadium on December 16, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark had one of the best pass rushing seasons by a Seattle defensive player in franchise history in 2018.

He says he managed to accomplish that feat while dealing with a pair of elbow injuries that left him at “60 percent” of his peak ability.

Clark took to Twitter on Tuesday to say that he played the season with tears to his ulnar collateral ligaments in his elbow. A UCL tear is the injury that leads to baseball players needing Tommy John surgeries to repair their throwing arms. Former Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman sustained the same injury in the team’s NFC Championship win over the Green Bay Packers in Jan. 2015.

Both injuries occurred during games against the Minnesota Vikings. Clark was initially injured in Seattle’s preseason game against the Vikings. Head coach Pete Carroll called the issue a hyper-extended elbow at the time.

Clark appeared on Seattle’s injury report with an elbow injury in Week Two. It was the only time in the first three months of the season that an elbow injury had Clark listed on the report. After the regular season meeting between the two teams in December, Clark again appeared on the injury report with an elbow injury. He was listed for the final three weeks of the regular season.

Carroll said it was Clark’s other elbow that was injured.

“It’s the other elbow,” he said on Dec. 14. “He kind of did the same thing on the other elbow if you can imagine that. He got caught, he got hyper-extended a little bit.”

Clark managed to compile 13 sacks for Seattle in 2018 with an additional sack coming in the team’s Wild Card game against the Dallas Cowboys. His 13 sacks were the most by a Seattle defensive player since Patrick Kerney had 14.5 sacks in 2007.

Clark is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in March, though both Clark and the Seahawks have indicated a strong desire to ensure he remains in Seattle.