Clutts Hopes to Make Impact.......
Tyler Clutts expected to make impact on Bears’ special teams
BY SEAN JENSEN September 11, 2011 1:04AM
After a distinguished career as a defensive end at Fresno State, Tyler Clutts played pro football, just not for the NFL.
Clutts, who signed a three-year contract with the Bears on Wednesday, realized while he was with the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League that he’d have to make a change.
‘‘I realized if I was going to make it [to the NFL], I was going to have to switch positions,” he said. ‘‘I was considered a ‘motor guy’ [at defensive end].’’ But he didn’t have the height (6-2), speed and arm length to make it at that position in the NFL.
‘‘In the NFL, you’re competing with a different level of athlete,’’ Clutts said. So in the summer of 2010, during his stint in the UFL, he switched to fullback, which was somewhat familiar.
‘‘In high school, I was a fullback that could throw,’’ said Clutts, a quarterback and defensive end at Clovis High School in California. Clutts said fullback feels natural to him, and Mountain Lions coach Dennis Green helped him make the transition.
Clutts landed with the Cleveland Browns, making a strong impression. He was released on the final cutdown and added to the practice squad. ‘‘My confidence grew at fullback,’’ he said, ‘‘and I realized I belonged at this level.”
The Bears expect him to make an impact on special teams. That’s fine with Clutts — Fresno State always stressed their importance. ‘‘I think that was my link here,’’ said Clutts, noting that former Bears special teams assistant Chris Tabor is the Browns’ special teams coordinator. ‘‘So special teams is my definite emphasis.’’