Former Chicago Bears fullback Tyler Clutts was a quality lead blocker but his lack of athleticism and limited ability in the passing game made him a bad fit for coordinator Mike Tice's offense. As a result, the team was set to cut him before finalizing the 53-man roster last Friday.
"That was my first experience with anything like that," McManis told Bear Report. "It hurt at first. It was a tough time at the beginning but it is what it is. That's football. It's a business. This is the best situation for me."
McManis, a former All-Big Ten athlete from Northwestern, said he's glad to be home, in a place where he feels wanted.
CB Sherrick McManis
"At first it was a bittersweet kind of thing. They let you go, you get traded, but you know another team wants you. I felt that from Chicago and I love to be here."
Chicago's coaches instituted a preseason battle for the fifth cornerback spot between rookies Isaiah Frey and Greg McCoy, and veteran Jonathan Wilhite. Each failed to stand out and all were cut, with Frey getting re-signed to the practice squad. Emery instead traded for McManis, a quality special teams player, to fill that role.
"Right now I'm just focused on wherever [the coaches] put me at. Whether that's special teams or defense, just trying to learn and make some plays."
The Bears lost six of their top seven special teams tacklers from last year, forcing Emery to work hard keeping the cupboard full for special teams coordinator Dave Toub. McManis joins Eric Weems and Blake Costanzo as players Chicago acquired mainly for their ability to contribute on special teams.
Toub now has a talented group of athletes to build up his units.
"I'm really excited to play for [Toub]," McManis said. "Just being in the NFL the past couple of years, the Chicago Bears always have really good special teams. That has to come from somewhere. He does a great job coaching and knowing what he's talking about. I'm just here to listen and execute his plan."
McManis has never started a game on defense in two years and is transitioning to a new system. He said the Texans don't run much Cover 2, which will create a large learning curve. So unless injuries pile up in front of him, his odds of seeing the field on defense are slim. He'll be limited to special teams, an area in which Clutts had little value.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.