Bears special-teams standout Sherrick McManis hopes to contribute regularly at cornerback this season for the first time in his six-year NFL career.
In Thursday night's 27-10 preseason-opening win over the Dolphins, McManis stated a strongcase by producing a game-changing takeaway and breaking up a third-down pass.
With the Bears trailing 10-3 early in the third quarter, McManis breathed life into his team and the Soldier Field crowd by ripping the ball away from running back Mike Gillislee.
McManis recovered the fumble at the Miami 37, setting up Robbie Gould's 23-yard field goal—and igniting a Bears rally that turned a seven-point deficit into a 17-point win.
"I'm very determined," McManis said. "I'm determined like this every year, honestly, just to be out there trying to compete, do my special-teams thing, and also show them that I can play corner or that I can play nickel back, just to help the team in any way that I can.
Earlier in the game, McManis jumped a slant route and broke up a Matt Moore pass intended for receiver Matt Hazel on third-and-seven, forcing a Miami punt.
"He's a competitive young guy," said coach John Fox. "He's a guy who made his name in this league as a special-teams ace; so have a lot of great defensive players in our history.
"I always like it when a young man competes. He made a nice pass breakup on third down. He's a guy we like who had a good game."
McManis was selected by the Texans in the fifth round of the 2010 draft. After two seasons in Houston, he was traded to the Bears on Aug. 31, 2012 in exchange for fullback Tyler Clutts. In three seasons in Chicago, McManis has recorded a team-leading 38 special-teams tackles.
McManis has appeared in 62 career games with his only start coming Nov. 24, 2013 in St. Louis in place of the injured Charles Tillman. McManis played sparingly on defense in a couple games last season but hopes to earn a more permanent role at cornerback.
"It's about getting opportunities and capitalizing on those opportunities," McManis said. "Making plays. Just competing. Just trying to get better."