McManis deal from Texans paying off

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The trade that netted the Chicago Bears cornerback Sherrick McManis from the Houston Texans in exchange for fullback Tyler Clutts was all about need.

Clutts fit in well inside the Bears' locker room and performed admirably during his one-year stint in Chicago, but the Bears had no use for a traditional fullback in their new offense. Instead of keeping a true fullback, the Bears carved out roster spots for more versatile H-back types such as rookie fourth-round pick Evan Rodriguez and Kyle Adams, making Clutts expendable as final cuts loomed.

Although the Bears had no use on the roster for Clutts, they did have a hole to fill on special teams at the gunner position after losing Pro Bowler Corey Graham and cornerback Zack Bowman, who later re-signed with the team during the bye week.

So rather than simply release Clutts, the Bears traded him to Houston for McManis, whom Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub believed could help fill void at gunner.

But it sounds as if the Bears got more than they bargained for from McManis, a Peoria, Ill. native who played at t Northwestern.

"He's exceeded our expectations," Toub said. "We saw him on tape and we saw that he was a good gunner and he filled a need there for us. That's really what we expected, but once we got him, we started realizing what kind of take off and get off he has and we felt like we could use him as a rusher."

McManis was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for Week 9 for his efforts in the Bears' 51-20 thrashing of the Titans that included a blocked punt that defensive end Corey Wootton scooped up and returned for a touchdown. McManis also recorded two special teams tackles and is tied for third on the team with seven special teams stops.

Clutts has been active for all eight of Houston's games and has one special teams tackle.

"I really like Sherrick," Toub said. "It's good to see him make a play for us. He's got the great quickness, (and) he's got great get off. He used really good technique (on that punt block). It's really to get a block in the NFL and a lot of things have to go right and it did on that play."