Mackey helped make Dallas Clark possible

One of the reasons to like Dallas Clark is that he’s got a sense of history.

As we learned of John Mackey's passing Thursday morning, I immediately thought of Clark. In 2009, Clark passed Mackey for the Colts’ franchise record for receptions by a tight end.

Here’s what Clark said about Mackey as he neared that record, from the Indianapolis Star:

"He's the man… "Any time that I've ever been (mentioned) in the same sentence with him, that's just a great honor. For what he did for Baltimore . . . what he did for the position in general was tremendous. He was special…"

"It was him and (Kellen) Winslow Sr., back in their days. They made people look at different things a tight end could do. It used to be they just blocked or maybe were an extra lineman.

"For them to change the position and change the way teams used them . . . that's the reason I have a job, I guess."

Mackey's influence in the sport extended well beyond altering a position. He was also the first president of the players association.

Here’s Mark Klingaman’s obituary of Mackey. I didn’t know he was connected to Ernie Davis from time together at Syracuse, a cool connection between two very impressive football players and two very impressive men.