If Frank Clark enjoys the breakout season some are predicting for the Seattle Seahawks defensive end in his second year in the NFL, it will be because of talent, hard work and opportunity.
It might also have a little bit to do with an infant girl named Phoenix, Clark's first child who was born earlier this offseason.
"It's been great," Clark said of his first few months of parenthood. "There comes a time where you realize it's not all about you anymore. Everything you do, waking up, going to work, everything you do in practice, those plays you make, it's not for you no more, it's for your family. I've got a daughter at home now, it's my responsibility to put food on the table… You go into work with a mindset of just getting better every day for yourself, but at the same time, knowing you're doing it to provide for her."
Clark's favorite part of being a new parent?
"Just getting home," he said. "You've got someone to go home to. Guys have their girlfriends or their wives, but going home to your child, seeing that person you created, somebody to leave your legacy with, there's no better feeling in the world."
As we detailed on Father’s Day last year, as a young Seahawks team has grown up and matured over the last few years, that has not only meant on-field success, but also significant life changes such as marriage and children.
And since last year, more Seahawks players have joined the parenting club, or added second or third children, including Clark, K.J. Wright, Richard Sherman, Justin Britt, Brandon Browner and Jake Heaps.
"It's awesome," said Browner, whose daughter Monroe was born in May. "My kids are my greatest gift. I had two boys first, then I finally got my girl on my last go-around. She's got two protectors and her dad. It's awesome, man, I love being a father.
"It's made me want to work harder, grind harder, be a provider. Like a lot of kids, I didn't grow up with a dad in the household, so I want to be there for my kids."
For Britt, whose daughter, now 3, came while he and his wife were still in college, the first couple of months with their son, Miller, have been "smoother and easier. We know what we're doing; we were ready to handle it."
And watching their daughter interact with her new baby brother has been one of the best parts of having a second child, Britt said.
"It's awesome to see our 3-year old daughter taking responsibility of being a big sister," he said. "She understands that role to an extent, and to see how much she cares about her baby brother is awesome for a parent to see. But we're also dealing with her being jealous at times, because it's new to her. It's new to us, but it's going great."