Sutton fulfilling a lifelong dream

Chicago's third-round pick, former Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton, says it's a dream come true to play for the Bears, a team he's followed since he was a kid.

Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton might be a native of California, but he's also a diehard Chicago Bears fan.

"Been one pretty much all of my life," Sutton said after being selected by the Monsters of the Midway with the 81st pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

When asked about his connection to the Bears, Sutton laughed and said, "Cousins. They live here. They wouldn't let me alone in terms of the sports stuff. I think they sent me every possible type of Bears fan gear over the years. Any time I saw a package coming to me from Chicago, I knew before I opened it pretty much what I would find."

The irony of becoming a part of a team he's only known from afar hasn't been lost on Sutton.

"It has to be my biggest dream come true because actually, once I started wearing all that Bears gear as a kid, I started studying the team," Sutton said. "I watched as many of their games as I could. I read up on their history. It was fascinating stuff. Here was one of the leading, one of the original teams in the NFL. I enjoyed learning everything I could about them."

Sutton developed as a standout player for the ASU Sun Devils. Twice named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, he was just the second player in league history to capture the award two straight seasons.

"The award was named for Pat Tillman, so it meant even more to me to win it," Sutton said. "Tillman was the epitome of leadership and work ethic as well as character. To be mentioned in the same breath as him is an incredible honor."

To get to ASU, Sutton rejected scholarship offers from Arizona, Boise State, Fresno State, Nebraska, UNLV and Washington.

"I knew from the start that was the school where I wanted to play," Sutton said.

However, Sutton was ruled academically ineligible his sophomore year. He returned to the field in 2011 and by 2012, he emerged as one of the top interior defenders in the nation. His junior season, Sutton accumulated 13.0 sacks and 25.5 tackles for loss.

"I worked so hard that year and the following year," Sutton said. "I wanted to show what I was made of and demonstrate that I knew the value of hard work both on and off the field."

When the Bears selected LSU DT Ego Ferguson in the second round, Sutton felt his chance of joining the Bears, a team that had shown interest in him prior to the draft, was slipping away.

"I never imagined they'd choose two DTs," he said. "I could see my dream of playing for the Bears slipping away and it was heartbreaking for me."

But during the next round, Sutton heard his name called and could relax at last.

"They have two of us now," Sutton said. "They can use us in tandem. Any way I can get on the field, I'll do what it takes. I hope they saw my desire and my ability and felt I could be a good fit here. I know my family is thrilled and so am I. My hope as a young athlete was to play for the Bears and guess what? I'm finally here."

Beth Gorr has been covering the Bears for the last 12 years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.

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