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Kenny Clark adjusting to unconventional offseason

Packers defensive tackle went viral last week after pulling a bus

DL Kenny Clark
DL Kenny Clark

GREEN BAY – Like most Americans, Kenny Clark has burned through his to-watch list on Netflix, worn out his thumbs playing "Call of Duty: Warzone" and done everything possible to stay entertained inside his home in Los Angeles.

"I'm running out of things," said Clark, laughing, during a phone interview Tuesday night. "I said last Friday, 'Man, the games are actually getting boring now.' I never thought I'd say that but I never go outside."

When Clark does venture out, it's to work out – from a safe distance – with his younger brothers, Kyon and Keyshon, both football players who are home from college in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that's turned the world on its head.

In the past, the Packers defensive tackle would be busy training right now at ProActive Sports Performance, a widely renowned facility in Westlake Village many NFL players call home from January through April, before returning to Green Bay for the start of the offseason program.

This year, however, Clark has had to get creative with gyms closed and the NFL indefinitely postponing the start of the offseason program. So he assembled a plan, in concert with longtime associates Jordan Campbell and Eliseo Cabildo of Winners Circle Athletics, to prepare the best he can for what will be a critical 2020 season for the fifth-year veteran.

Clark trains outside about 1½ hours each day. Last weekend, his workout made waves online when Clark was videoed pulling a Jeep and one of the Winners Circle buses, currently sitting idle with the charter school closed.

"They were asking me, 'Man, do you want to do it?'" Clark recalled. "I was like, 'Yeah, I'll do it.' I'd never done this before. I don't know how much the weight was but I see it all the time. I see guys pushing cars and trucks and all that kind of stuff. That was my first time trying it and I did it. It was pretty cool."

The rest of Clark's training regimen is similar to what he's done in the past. He lifts five times a week, practices footwork drills on his own, and has focused training on his lower body after battling ankle and calf injuries last season.

To stay on top of his nutrition, Clark has a personal chef prepare meals for him every day. It's a routine Clark is leaning on to elevate his game after a statement-making 2019 campaign.

Clark, still only 24, finished his fourth NFL season on another high note with 5½ sacks in his final six games (including postseason). He made his first Pro Bowl appearance after posting a career-high 62 tackles and recording six sacks for the second consecutive year.

Clark had a blast in Orlando. He reconnected with former UCLA teammate and current Minnesota linebacker Eric Kendricks, and met All-Pro defensive tackles Fletcher Cox, Cam Jordan and Grady Jarrett.

He spent the week picking the brains of the fellow Pro Bowlers at his position, inquiring about certain techniques and what type of pass-rush moves they prefer. It was an eye-opening experience for a defensive tackle used to flying under NFL radars.

"I've always been an underrated guy – I feel like it's been happening since high-school stuff, but I just have to keep on putting the work in," Clark said. "You want to be one of the best of the best and be recognized as that. That definitely was a goal of mine. Hopefully, I can just keep on improving and going to more Pro Bowls and finally become an All-Pro, too."

Clark, currently in the final year of his rookie contract, has plenty of motivation to take things to another level in Year 5. It's not so much about dollars and cents, as it is avenging the disappointment of coming up short in the NFC title game for the second time in his first four NFL seasons.

"I've been to the NFC Championship twice and lost both of those games. Just being that close, that's motivating in itself," Clark said. "I still have a lot of untapped potential. I'm still a really young player and I'm learning a lot more stuff each and every day. I feel like from that standpoint alone, that motivates me to keep grinding and find out how I can unlock more pass-rush (moves), more things to help me stop the run better, everything, to make my all-around game better."

When he isn't training, Clark is spending his free time with his girlfriend and watching Netflix. He blazed through the first two seasons of "Ozark" and is contemplating whether to give "Tiger King" a shot based on popular word of mouth.

The days can get long but Clark is thankful his family is healthy and his brothers are home. Looking to find ways to help, Clark recently made a donation to Feed America Inland Empire, in his hometown of San Bernardino.

As the country anxiously waits to re-open, Clark has adjusted his training to the uncertain times. Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy said last week it's possible the league shifts to a virtual format for offseason programs but no formal plans have been announced.

Until a decision is made, all Clark can do is stay healthy and be ready for whatever happens. The work is far from over.

"You have a plan of how you want to attack the offseason because it's going to be kind of different," Clark said. "You don't want to burn out your body in April and hurt yourself or something and not be good for the season.

"So just trying to design a plan to where I'm still getting a lot of good work in, and I'm still feeling healthy and still feeling good going into training camp, and I'm still in shape enough to where once I do start practicing – because we're most likely going to get straight to it – I'm not going to get hurt or anything like that because I wasn't doing the right things or I wasn't hitting the weights strong enough."