JOURNEY TO LIII: Sherrick McManis’ long Bears’ playoff wait is over
CHICAGO – He’s been through a lot of chance. At lot. It can’t be overstated.
Since joining the Bears after two years in Houston, he watched Lovie Smith get fired and Marc Trestman hired. Two years later, Trestman was fired on John Fox was hired. Three years later, Fox was fired.
That’s three coaches in six seasons, and not a single playoff game to show for it. If Sherrick McManis was skeptical when the fourth coach came in last January, no one would have blamed him.
But this time it’s all worked out for the defensive back from Northwestern. For the first time in his Bears tenure, McManis is going to t
“It means a lot, man. It feels good to be able to play after the regular season,” said McManis. “I’ve been here for a while, it’s been the first time I’ve done it here.”
That’s because the defensive back did make the playoffs in his second season in Houston, when the Texans won their first-ever AFC South championship in 2011. He did so primarily in the team’s win over Cincinnati in the Wild Card round and loss to the Ravens in the Divisional playoff.
“It was something I never experienced before, being in the NFL,” said McManis of the 2011 playoffs with Houston. “Everything was a little more enhanced, you know. But it was a great time, fun time, and hopefully we can go further than we did then.”
McManis had a long way to go to get back in the playoffs. He came the closest his first two years when 10-6 and 8-8 teams missed the playoffs just barely. Then things turned rough, with the team never winning more than six games in a season, left out of the playoff conversation before December even started.
That was different this year, and so was the situation for McManis. When the foot injury to Bryce Callahan knocked him out for the season, the defensive back was put into his spot in Nickel situations and made a career-high 26 tackles.
He was on the field when the Bears beat the Packers to clinch the NFC North and that elusive playoff spot, one he never lost faith would happen during his tenure with the franchise.
“It felt as long as it was but I never lost hope but I’m always optimistic,” said McManis. “Every year is a new year. It’s a new team, so you’ve got a good enough chance, just as any other team out there. So the hope was never lost.
“I’m happy we’re here and happy we’ve done this as a team.”
Now after playing for four coaches in six years and missing the playoffs in five of them, McManis get his reward on Sunday.
“It’s gonna be fun, man. It’s gonna be another game, but honestly, it’s a playoff game,” said McManis. “It’s going to be electrifying, fans are going to be in it. It should be a great game out there. Should be fun.”
It better be. Sherrick waited a long time for it to happen.