Ryan Clark to miss Steelers opener

Steelers fans hate it when their team travels to Denver. They don't necessarily fear the Broncos, but anyone who's followed the Steelers in recent years knows that when the Steelers head up to Denver, safety Ryan Clark doesn't play.

According to an ESPN report, that fact will stay true this Sunday.

Clark suffers from sickle cell anemia, causing his red blood cells to take on a crescent or "sickle" shape. This sickle shape harms red blood cells' ability to carry oxygen around the body efficiently. In high altitude, where oxygen is thinner, sickle cell anemia can cause very serious problems.

That was the case in 2007, when Clark became very ill following a game in Denver. He ultimately had his spleen and gall bladder removed following the incident.

The Steelers' position since that game when playing in Denver has been to air on the side of caution, as they rightly should. Ryan Mundy will most likely be given the start. Against the Broncos in the playoffs, Mundy played very well, and that's the type of performance the Steelers will be hoping for against a new and improved Broncos passing attack.

About Shane Clemons

Shane Clemons came from humble beginnings creating his own Jaguars blog before moving on to SBNation as a featured writer for the Jaguars. He then moved to Bloguin where he briefly covered the AFC South before taking over Bloguin's Jaguars blog. Since the inception of This Given Sunday, Shane has served as an editor for the site, doing his best not to mess up a good thing.