After $22,000 fine, new tight end discovers timely virtue
Accountability is the key word circulating through Halas Hall this week, and no Bears player has been held more accountable this season — at least from a financial standpoint — than Brandon Manumaleuna.
The veteran tight end was fined $22,000 for missing meetings at the team hotel before the Lions game. It was an eye-opener for Manumaleuna, who signed a five-year, $15 million deal, with $6.1 million guaranteed, after leaving the Chargers. He has a base salary of $1.055 million this season, so the fine was a third of his weekly check.
"Nobody likes to give away money,'' said Manumaleuna, who hasn't appealed the fine. "I misunderstood the times, and I know I have to pay attention from now on.
"It has been a little bit of adjustment, coming here. You get comfortable with certain things that other teams let you get away with. When you go somewhere new, you have to adjust to different rules.''
"I don't know anything different,'' Urlacher said. "I like the way things are around here. We know we have to be on time, and Brandon knows that he just made an honest mistake. And now it's behind us.''
Manumaleuna spent the first five years of his career in St. Louis, where Smith was the defensive coordinator for three years.
"I'm used to Lovie, being around him before, and I know his expectations,'' Manumaleuna said. "But, yes, it's a little more strict around here than what I was used to.
"That's how they conduct their business. And they obviously have been doing it for a while. You can't go to your job and say, 'No, I'm not doing that.'"
Manumaleuna is not alone in having to learn a hard lesson, although his circumstances differ from others. Defensive tackle Tommie Harris' subpar performance in the first two games led to him being inactive against the Packers. Defensive tackle Marcus Harrison was inactive the first two games because he struggled in the preseason. Cornerback Zack Bowman was pulled Monday night after some early struggles.
In other words, players are being held accountable on and off the field.
Manumaleuna apparently worked his way back into the good graces of the coaching staff, although his impact through three games has been minimal. The blocking tight end has played less than half the offensive snaps as he slowly recovers from offseason knee surgery.
"He played really well last week,'' offensive coordinator Mike Martz said. "He's still banged up a little bit. It took him a while to get into it physically. But we're pleased with him.''
Manumaleuna can joke about the missed meetings now. One of the first text messages he received was from former Chargers teammate Antonio Gates.
"He just gave me the 'LOL' and told me I might have to borrow some money from him,'' Manumaleuna said. "He definitely has it.
"It's the most expensive mistake I've ever made.''