Seattle Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark allegedly admitted to striking his girlfriend shortly after the altercation that led to his November arrest.
According to documents obtained by Geoff Baker and Lewis Kamb of the Seattle Times, Stephanie Burkhardt, the night manager of the Ohio hotel at which Clark was staying, told police Clark said "I will hit you like I hit her” when she came to their room to investigate the incident. Burkhardt confirmed her statement in the police report in an interview with the Times.
“Yes, he said it,’’ she said. “I would never lie about something like that.’’
According to the police report obtained by Dan Murphy of ESPN.com, Clark allegedly punched his girlfriend in the face. The woman's brother said he saw Clark grab her by the neck and throw her to the ground.
"We went up the room, there was a damaged lamp on the table, a damaged lamp on the wall and she's got a large welt on the side of her cheek, she's got marks on her neck," Perkins Township police officer Martin Curran told Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press. "She had what looked like rug burn on her one thigh. We have pictures of everything."
Clark was immediately removed from the Michigan football team. He pleaded down to a disorderly conduct charge last month in exchange for the domestic violence charge being dropped. The Seahawks selected Clark in the second round of the 2015 NFL draft, but not before informing him the domestic violence charge was a breaking point.
"If he has these charges pending, we won't draft him," Clark's agent, Erik Burkhardt, recalled Seattle brass saying in a February meeting, per Tom Pelissero of USA Today.
The Seahawks' decision to select Clark has drawn the ire of many observers, who saw the move as the team putting talent over domestic violence. Team management, from general manager John Schneider to head coach Pete Carroll, has defended its decision, saying it's relying on evidence compiled in its own extensive investigation.
“Our organization has an in-depth understanding of Frank’s situation and background,” Schneider said, per Terry Blount of ESPN.com. “We have done a ton of research on this young man. There hasn’t been one player in this draft that we spent more time analyzing and scrutinizing than Frank.”
Clark claims he has been "honest and upfront" about the case.
“I’ve been honest and upfront this whole time as much as I can,” Clark said, per the Seattle Times. “Everything I’ve said to the coaches, to everyone who’s questioned me about it, I’ve been honest and upfront from the very beginning. That’s all I can do.”
Clark, who played defensive end and linebacker at Michigan, had 42.5 tackles and 4.5 sacks last season.
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