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Clark set for first NFL regular-season start

Former Bulldog standout Chuck Clark will get his first NFL regular season start against the Atlanta Falcons.

Starting safety Tony Jefferson went down with an ankle injury last week in the second half for the Baltimore Ravens. Clark, a former Hokie, stepped in and played well, getting praise from his head coach and position coaches.

Clark got the majority of the first-team reps on defense this week because of Jefferson’s injury. Jefferson was officially ruled out Friday, making way for Clark to start his first regular season NFL game at safety.

“I thought Chuck did a nice job,” defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said. “Chuck’s a pro. He wants to be the best special teams player out there when he’s playing special teams, and he wants to be the best safety out there when he’s playing safety. I thought he did a nice job. That’s hard to do — just come right off the bench and all of a sudden it’s, ‘OK, it’s your time.’ But he’s been preparing for that since training camp.”

The former Bulldog felt good about the short time he did step in last week and looks forward to his first start.

“It’s always good getting out there, getting on the field, getting reps,” Clark said. “It’s getting experience under your belt that you can put in your back pocket. You see stuff you might see again the next week. Playing time never hurts.”

The Falcons have been known to have a prolific offense this season, but Clark is ready for the task.

“They’ve got an explosive offense,” Clark said. “Tackling is important every game, but you’ve got to get these guys on the ground.”

The Baltimore Ravens will take on the Atlanta Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday.