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October 31, 2011

After paying dues, Clutts loving life as NFL player

By: Larry Mayer | Last Updated: 10/31/2011 11:50 AM

It’s safe to say that no player or coach will be happier to be back at Halas Hall Tuesday when the Bears return from their four-day bye weekend than Tyler Clutts.

The first-year fullback is not only part of a 53-man NFL roster for the first time but is contributing on offense and special teams after taking an unorthodox journey to the league.


Tyler Clutts had two receptions for 17 yards in last Sunday's 24-18 win over the Buccaneers in London.

“I’m loving it,” said Clutts, a four-year letterman at Fresno State who played in the Canadian Football League, the United Football League and the Arena Football League before entering the NFL.


“I said from the beginning this is what I wanted to do since I was four years old and now that I have the opportunity and the long road it took to get here, I’m enjoying every second. To go through what I did to get here and to hold on that long just kind of shows how much I love the game.”

The Bears signed Clutts off the Cleveland Browns practice squad in September, a few days before the regular-season opener. He originally entered the NFL as a free agent with the Browns in 2010 after playing for the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL (2008-09), the Sacramento Mountain Lions in the UFL (2010) and the Utah Blaze in the AFL (2010).

A defensive end who recorded 23½ sacks in four seasons at Fresno State, Clutts permanently switched to fullback with the Mountain Lions just over a year ago.

With the Bears, the 6-2, 260-pounder has emerged as an excellent lead blocker for running back Matt Forte and an occasional receiver out of the backfield.

“I take more pride in the amount of yards that Matt has than anything,” Clutts said. “That’s more important to me than anything else. The more I can get on the field it’s better because I just love being on the field. But whatever it takes to get this offense to be successful, that’s what I take pride in.”

Clutts delivered two excellent blocks in last Sunday's win over the Buccaneers in London, both against linebacker Adam Hayward. The first was at the point of attack on Marion Barber’s 12-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and the second came on a Forte sweep to the right in the fourth period.

University of Phoenix

It’s a cliché, but it’s true with Clutts in that he plays every snap as if it’s his last. That was evident on Forte’s 32-yard touchdown run against the Buccaneers when Clutts hustled downfield and buried cornerback Ronde Barber near the goal line.

“Maybe that comes from my defensive background, being that you’re always in pursuit,” Clutts said. “I was downfield, more running to celebrate with Matt because I knew he was going to make it in and it just ended up that I could get the block. But whatever extra little things I can do.”

Time change: The Bears-Lions game on Sunday, Nov. 13 at Soldier Field has been flexed from noon to 3:15 p.m. The NFL announced the move Monday, one day after Detroit crushed the Denver Broncos 45-10. 

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