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Mannelly retires after 16 seasons

Posted Jun 20, 2014

The longest playing career in Bears history officially ended Friday when long-snapper Patrick Mannelly announced his retirement.

The longest playing career in Bears history officially ended Friday when long-snapper Patrick Mannelly announced his retirement.

Selected in the sixth round of the 1998 NFL Draft out of Duke, Mannelly played his entire career with the Bears, setting franchise records for most seasons (16) and games (245).

A model of excellence and consistency throughout his career, Mannelly helped the Bears win four division championships (2001, 2005, 2006, 2010) and one NFC title (2006).

“It’s difficult to talk about Patrick as a player in the past tense,” said Bears chairman George H. McCaskey. “He played more seasons than any other Bear. He played in more games than any other Bear. And every season, every game, he was a pro’s pro. He was a captain, someone his teammates looked up to and sought guidance, direction and inspiration, and he provided it.

“Our family is very grateful for all he has done. Not just for the way he’s played on the field, but the way he has carried himself off the field. He’s the epitome of what a Chicago Bear is all about. We’ll miss having him in uniform and wish him the best.”

Mannelly immediately took over long-snapping duties as a rookie in 1998 and pulled the trigger on 2,282 long snaps during his career. He contributed to the Bears setting an NFL record for most consecutive punts without a block (920) and games without a blocked punt (180).

One of the NFL’s top coverage long-snappers, Mannelly recorded 81 career special-teams tackles, the third most by a Bears player since 1995 when the statistic was first officially recorded.

A symbol of durability, Mannelly appeared in all 16 games during 12 of his 16 seasons and saw action in at least 14 games in 15 of his 16 years with the team. He missed a total of just 11 games throughout his NFL career.

Mannelly was voted by his teammates and coaches as the Bears’ special-teams captain every year since 2008. He was also chosen the 2013 Ed Block Courage Award recipient by his teammates.  

“Although I have deep respect for Pat’s decision, I’m saddened by it because we are going to lose an extremely high-level leader who had an impact on our team,” said general manager Phil Emery.

“Not only from his excellent performance on the field over a very long, sustained and historical amount of time, but in all areas of our team. It starts with his leadership in the locker room and him reaching out to other players who need help, to all the work he has done in the community, and the way he carried the Chicago Bears mantle. Any time he was in the public and represented the Chicago Bears, he did it at the highest level possible. We are losing a great person and a great player, one who will always remain a Bear in our hearts.”

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