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Sutton still has 'years in me'

HOUSTON -- Seattle Dragons defensive tackle Will Sutton has the resume, not the ego.

The Arizona State product is one of just two players from the Pac-12 to ever win back-to-back defensive Player of the Year awards. The other? Former University of Washington great Steve Emtman.

“The glory days,” Sutton said with a laugh when asked about his college career.

He was a third-round pick by the Chicago Bears in 2014 where he spent three seasons before getting training camp opportunities with Minnesota and San Francisco.

“It’s been a long road,” he said. “It’s gone by fast.”

He spent last season with the Arizona Hotshots in the AAF.

But, as he prepares for another season of professional football, he isn’t carrying a chip on his shoulder about where he thinks he should be at this point in his career. Right now, the defensive tackle just keeps smiling, because he is still playing football.

“It’s just a chance to continue to do what I love, make a living playing football,” he said. “It’s an opportunity. I feel like I still have years in me.”

The 28-year-old has accomplished a lot in his career, but he still enjoys what he is doing. He goes into each practice drill with that same smile on his face.

“You can’t knock this grind,” He said Monday after the team’s first practice in pads. “It’s a marathon, but we’ve got to keep battling. We wouldn’t be out here if it was easy, and we love doing it.”

It is Sutton’s love of the game that keeps him looking for new opportunities to extend his career, because he wants to continue competing at an elite level. He works to put himself in a position to be successful and makes the most of every chance to play.

“You can’t control any of this, really,” he said. “You can just control your effort, how you prepare, how you train in the offseason. Everything else is left to the higher ups. You’ve just got to control what you can on the field, making plays, being a bro, taking care of your body, eating right, those things on and off the field to where, when decisions get made, you’re on the good side of the fence.”

When it comes to his position with the Dragons, Sutton is definitely on the good side of the fence, bringing the talent, personality and leadership that will help anchor the team in the trenches.

After a minicamp in Seattle and Sunday’s first day of training camp in Houston, the Dragons were finally able to do a little hitting in Day 1 with pads.

And, for Sutton, well, the opportunity to crank up the physicality brought another smile to his face.

“Finally,” he said. “Heck yeah. We get to bang, see who’s who. We get to find out what our team is going to be about.”

While it was only the first day in pads, Sutton was asked to give an assessment of how the big guys on both sides of the ball performed.

“We’re going to be physical up front, for sure,” he said. “We’ve got a pretty big O-line. They’re physical. With us on the D-line, they say we’re undersized, but we’re physical as well. We’re going to get off the spot and do what we need to do to disrupt the backfield.”

As much as Sutton is enjoying his time with the Dragons, he does miss his kids: Will IV, 3, and Kooper Mai, 1.

“It’s hard, because I’m away from them and I’m going to be away from them for a while,” Sutton said. “In Seattle, hopefully I can get there and hang out with them. But Facetime is the closest thing I can do right now.”

When Sutton was in Arizona for the holidays, his Instagram page was full of clips featuring family time. He made the most of those moments, the same way he is taking advantage of each chance to play football.

“I love my kids,” he said. “I love being around them. That’s why I’m here, I do this for them. It’s for them. I’ve got motivation to come out here and do this, because I love playing the game, but this is for them.”