Chicago Bears fullback Tyler Clutts might symbolize the predicament facing players at the bottom of an NFL roster at this time of year better than any other Bear.
A year ago he faced the Bears playing for Cleveland in the final preseason game. He got cut, came back and was playing for the Bears the next week after impressing them in the Browns game. And this year he'll face Cleveland in the final preseason game hoping to hold on to his Bears job.
"I came out of that game feeling confident about my spot with the team," Clutts recalled about Cleveland. "They had other plans, but it all worked out for the best. Again, if I had not taken that last game seriously, I may not have had a job after that (with the Bears).”
All NFL players at the bottom of rosters are playing not just for their team but for other teams to see them at this point.
“It’s a chance for all the guys that are unsure of their position with that team to either solidify their spot with that team or to go give the 31 other teams a final look at them," Clutts said. "For me, it ended up that the fourth preseason was the team that I ended up on for the rest of the year."
Clutts is part of what might be this year's biggest Bears roster mystery: How many tight ends will they keep and will they retain a fullback. It depends greatly on how confident they are that Kyle Adams can be either an H-back type and block out of the backfield, or if they want the traditional fullback in Clutts.
Adams, the former Purdue player, is tall at 6-4, and built more like a tight end than a fullback.
"It's a different role, but didn't put on any weight to play it," Adams said. "I think I'm a good weight for a fullback, about 255 pounds. That's pretty good."
There is no doubt Adams has gotten the closest look in preseason. He has four catches for 43 yards after playing in nine games as a rookie before a hamstring injury landed him on IR. In the process, he earned a reputation for special teams play, which has carried over. But Clutts also is a critical special teams performer.
Regardless of their all-around value, neither Clutts nor Adams can be certain of their fate. No one can at this time of year.
Safety Anthony Walters expressed the tenuous situation non-starters face best. He would seem to have made the team already after Brandon Hardin's season-ending shoulder injury and his own promotion to second-team safety.
"I don’t have an apartment yet, I’ll tell you that," Walters said. "I’m just still living where they (the team) pay for it."
Follow Bears reporter Gene Chamberlain on Twitter @CBSSportsNFLCHI.