Cloutier was originally drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the 18th round (242nd overall) of the 1962 NFL draft, but chose to instead sign as a free agent with the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League (AFL). Following an injury, he was released by Buffalo and spent a year away from professional football to return to Maine, where he coached at Kennebunk High School.
In 1964, Cloutier got a second shot at professional football, signing as a free agent with the New England (Then Boston) Patriots of the AFL. He would play in 12 of 14 regular season games for the team primarily as a defensive back and punt returner. Per the Patriots, “Cloutier led the team with 20 punt returns for 136 yards, averaging 6.8 yards per return, and returned one kickoff for 46 yards.”
He started in the American Football Conference Championship game against the Buffalo Bills, who would defeat the Patriots and move on to win the league title versus the San Diego Chargers.
Cloutier would be released by the Patriots the following offseason and did not play professionally ever again. According to a story in the Portland Press Herald by Mike Lowe, he returned to Maine to begin a career in real estate, which he continued when he moved to Florida.
— Portland Press Herald (@PressHerald) November 28, 2017
“Prior to playing professionally, Cloutier starred at the University of Maine as a running back from 1959 through 1961, where he led the Black Bears in scoring in both 1959 and 1961. He also finished first on the team in rushing in 1959 and tied Maine’s single-game record at the time of 159 rushing yards versus Bates College that year. While at Maine, Cloutier was an All-Yankee Conference and All-Maine running back, earning the team’s Harold Westerman Most Valuable Player Award in 1961, and has since been inducted into both the University of Maine Hall of Fame and the Maine Sports Hall of Fame.”
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Tags: Boston Patriots Dave Cloutier Portland Press Herald