LAKE FOREST, IL – Long snapper Patrick Mannelly, who played his entire 16-year NFL career with the Chicago Bears, announced his retirement today. No one in the history of the Bears organization has worn the team's blue and orange uniform more than Mannelly. He holds the team's all-time records in games played (245) and seasons played (16). He was a model of excellence throughout his career as one of the NFL's top specialists. He was a part of four division championships (2001, 2005, 2006, 2010), an NFC Championship (2006) and appeared in seven playoff contests – including two NFC title games. His 245 games played are tied for 43rd most in NFL history.
"It's difficult to talk about Patrick as a player in the past tense. 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," Chairman George H. McCaskey said.
"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 was selected by Chicago in the sixth round (189th overall) of the 1998 NFL Draft out of Duke University. He immediately took over the long snapping duties as a rookie and pulled the trigger on 2,282 long-snap attempts during his NFL career. He contributed to the Bears setting an NFL record for most consecutive unblocked punts (920) and games without a blocked punt (180) from 11/28/1991 – 12/29/02.
One of the league's top coverage long snappers, Mannelly notched 81 career special teams tackles, third-most by a Bears player since 1995 when the statistic was first officially recorded.
"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," Bears General Manager Phil Emery said.
"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."
A symbol of durability, Mannelly appeared in all 16 contests during 12 of his 16 NFL seasons and saw action in at least 14 games in 15 of his 16 years with the team. He missed just 11 games during his NFL career.
His leadership has been displayed both on and off the field, as Mannelly was voted by his teammates and coaches as the Bears special teams captain every year since 2008. He was also named Chicago's 2013 Ed Block Courage Award Recipient by his teammates.
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