Akron native Tyrell Sutton made his NFL debut Sunday with the Carolina Panthers.
Sutton, a graduate of Archbishop Hoban High School and Northwestern University, rushed for 15 yards on three carries and had one reception for 11 yards as a starter at fullback. The New Orleans Saints defeated the Panthers 30-20 in the game played at the Louisiana Superdome.
Sutton, 22, replaced injured Panthers Brad Hoover and Tony Fiammetta in the lineup at fullback. Sutton, a tailback normally, gained nine yards on his first NFL carry. That rush was the first offensive play of the game. He also lined up at returner on kickoffs.
Sutton, 5-foot-8 and 213 pounds, signed with the Panthers on Sept. 6, but did not appear in the first seven games. He went through training camp with the Green Bay Packers.
“I thought Tyrell did a pretty good job considering he’s a running back and hadn’t even been in camp with us,” Panthers coach John Fox said in his postgame news conference.
Sutton was a four-year standout at tailback for Hoban and then led Northwestern in rushing for four consecutive years. He was named Mr. Football in Ohio in 2004 and is the all-time leader in rushing yards in state history. He is second all-time at Northwestern in rushing yards.