LAKE FOREST, Ill. – One day after beating the Jets, the Bears were busy off the field Monday, signing long-snapper Patrick Mannelly and defensive tackle Matt Toeaina to contract extensions.
Mannelly, who was due to become an unrestricted free agent, signed a two-year deal through 2012. He has appeared in a franchise-record 204 games since arriving in 1998 as a sixth-round draft pick.
Long-snapper Patrick Mannelly joined the Bears in 1998 as a sixth-round draft pick from Duke.
With the new deal, Mannelly has an opportunity to play the most seasons in Bears history. He’s currently in his 13th year with the team, one year shy of the club record that’s shared by linebackers Bill George (1952-65) and Doug Buffone (1966-79).
Asked why he opted to re-sign before hitting the open market, Mannelly said: “I love the Bears. I’ve been here for 13 years. Chicago is my home and I didn’t want to leave.”
Toeaina, meanwhile, signed a three-year extension through 2013. The 6-2, 308-pounder, who was due to become a restricted free agent, has emerged as a regular contributor this season after appearing in only five games over the previous three years with the Bears.
“To have some security feels pretty good,” Toeaina said Monday after signing his new deal. “To know that my family’s going to be here for a little bit longer, I feel pretty good about it. My family and I love it here in Chicago. We love the coaching staff, we love our teammates and we love the city.”
Toeaina has appeared in 15 games with 10 starts this season, recording 28 tackles, two sacks and one fumble recovery. He has blossomed this year after being inactive in 30 of 32 games the previous two seasons.
“It was definitely tough watching games from the sideline,” Toeaina said. “But this year I got an opportunity and I had to make sure I took advantage of it—and I guess I did. It obviously led to a three-year extension. I’m looking forward to the next three years with the Bears.”