Dallas Clark had options other than playing for the Ravens. As he said, "I had the luxury to be picky, and I was."
Clark and his agent turned down some teams early on in the free agency process. There was a handful that were in talks with the veteran tight end.
What swayed Clark – other than the Ravens being the most aggressive at the end – was the man under center, Joe Flacco.
After being named Super Bowl XLVII MVP, Flacco has become a recruiting tool, which can pay big dividends over the years when it comes to luring talent to Baltimore.
"A couple of receivers like the fact that Joe is here. I think that interests them a lot," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.
Clark was asked whether Flacco impacted his decision to become a Raven.
"Absolutely," he said. "He's a gamer and just a great leader. He can flat-out play the game. As a receiving tight end, that was No. 1 wherever I was going to go, they had to have a solid quarterback. This is better than that."
Often times, veterans near the end of their careers want to play for winners. The Ravens have scooped up many such players over the years. Clark went from playing with Peyton Manning and the perennially playoff-bound Colts to Tampa Bay last year, where he caught passes from Josh Freeman, went 7-9 and missed the playoffs.
"Offensively, I don't think I fit in the best with what they do," Clark said of Tampa Bay.
Receivers and pass-catching tight ends, such as Clark and wide receiver Brandon Stokley, also want to go somewhere with a quarterback that can get them the ball.
"Any time that you can be on the same team as an elite quarterback – which Joe is – it makes the job for the offense so much easier, and especially for a receiver," Stokley said.
Now Flacco has to go from recruiter to teacher. He, Stokley and Clark will have a lot of work to do together to get on the same page. Clark said he's planning on eating a lot of meals with the Ravens gunslinger to establish a rapport.
Clark said he's not sure whether he will play in Thursday's preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons because he's still learning the plays.
"You can talk about it all you want on the sideline and with the coaches, but I need to know what [Joe's] thinking and where he needs me to be," Clark said. "That's how Peyton and my relationship [worked] and why we had so much success. I'm looking forward to those conversations."