Cincinnati Bengals High 5: Five questions with DE Will Clarke

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 24: Quarterback Logan Thomas #6 of the Arizona Cardinals is sacked by defensive end Will Clarke #93 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the fourth quarter of the preseason NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 24, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 24: Quarterback Logan Thomas #6 of the Arizona Cardinals is sacked by defensive end Will Clarke #93 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the fourth quarter of the preseason NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 24, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Despite playing just 24 percent of the defensive snaps this season, Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Will Clarke is tied for the team lead with three sacks.

A third-round pick in 2014, Clarke has taken advantage of an increase in playing time — he played 6 percent of the snaps as a rookie and 12.4 percent last year — to record sacks in three consecutive games.

While the 6-foot-6 Pittsburgh native has been asked a lot of questions about his recent hot streak, he agreed to sit down and answer some more offbeat questions about long hair and short conversations with notoriously quiet teammate Geno Atkins for this week’s Cincinnati Bengals High 5.

Q: Now that Vontaze Burfict and Rey Maualuga have cut off their dreadlocks, you might have the longest hair on the team. When did you start growing it, and why did you want it long?

A: I started growing it Jan. 10, 2011. It was my sophomore year of college. The reason why is because I had it cornrowed before and my hair wasn't really growing as fast as I wanted it to. I always wanted dreads. My dad listened to a lot of reggae music growing up and he had dreads, so I wanted to grow dreads, too.

Q: I know you were a pretty good basketball player back in the day. Do you remember the first time you ever dunked?

A: I dunked in sixth grade. It was in my middle school gym. It wasn't in a game. We were just practicing. I kept trying and trying to dunk and finally made it.

Q: Did Bob Huggins ever approach you while you were at West Virginia, at least for some scout team work?

A: No, but I used to talk to one of the assistant coaches because he actually knew my father from playing basketball at Duquense University. All the football guys would joke with coach Huggins because we would see a lot of basketball players at our rec, at the West Virginia Rec for their open gyms. So we'd see coach Huggins and those guys and we'd say 'Hey, coach, let us run. Let us get a couple games in.'

Q: What is the longest conversation you have ever had with Geno?

A: The longest conversation I ever had with Geno was talking about the Burgh. He calls it the Burgh. Anything about Pittsburgh, he calls it the Burgh. Not about the (Steelers), but the city. We talk about the Burgh.

Q: Speaking of your hometown, that's where you recorded the first full sack of your career. Was that special for you to do it there in front of your family and friends?

A: I would say yeah. To have my first sack against Ben (Roethlisberger). I think it was more appreciated by my family than anything, my mom and dad especially. When Ben got drafted I was in seventh grade, so to be able to sack him after my parents had watched him for so many years. That was a good thing for them to see, along with all my friends and everyone. It was a good moment.