It wasn't too many years ago that young men dreamed of playing for the Green Bay Packers. That's not the case anymore, though, as Bruce Clark proved when he shunted aside Green Bay's offer to sign with the Toronto Argonauts last week.
An All-American defensive tackle from Penn State, Clark has followed Ohio State's Tom Cousineau to Canada. Cousineau was the top overall pick in last year's NFL draft, but elected to play for the Montreal Alouettes rather than the Buffalo Bills. Clark, the fourth player chosen in the 1980 draft, was expected to anchor the middle of Green Bay's new three-man defensive line.
Clark's "defection" came as a real blow to Coach Bart Starr, whose rebuilding plans have suffered an ironic setback. Starr is losing Clark to his old Packer teammate, Willie Wood, the Argonauts' new head coach.
Starr is incensed because he feels Clark's agent used him as a guinea pig, sacrificing his young client "to play in anonymity somewhere north of the border." Starr apparently feels that Richard Bennett has used Clark to enhance the negotiating positions of other players he represents.
Bennett indicated that money was not the only factor in Clark's decision. Team, city, staff, players, and the entire environment were said to be other considerations.
At a news conference announcing his signing, the rookie explained it this way: "I was not disillusioned with Green Bay or anything like that. I was just too impatient. I guess I wanted to get established with a team as soon as possible."