Bears' Mannelly wants to keep snapping 'until they say I can't'
By Brad Biggs, Tribune reporter
11:55 a.m. CST, December 24, 2012
The last time the Chicago Bears got a contract done with Pat Mannelly, it happened two days after Christmas in 2010. This time, the veteran long snapper has a new deal in place in time for the holidays.
Mannelly, the franchise’s all-time leader in games played, signed a one-year extension Monday morning that will carry him through the 2013 season. The 37-year-old was set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.
“We told them we were interested in coming back for a little bit longer and we were able to get the deal done,” Mannelly said. “It’s just the timing of when it worked out but it does make for a little bit better Christmas.”
Mannelly, who is earning $925,000 this season, has appeared in 230 games for the Bears in 15 seasons, which is also a club record for longevity. He is the only remaining player from the 1998 NFL draft that remains with his original team.
The Bears’ special teams units have traditionally ranked among the best in the NFL since special teams coordinator Dave Toub arrived under head coach Lovie Smith in 2004. Toub consistently has praised Mannelly, saying he doesn’t want to have to find a new long snapper.
“I want to play until they say I can’t do it anymore,” Mannelly said. “As I told Dave Toub one day, he’ll tap me on the back and say, ‘You’re done.’ I am fine with that.”
Mannelly said it’s his hope Smith is back to lead the team next season.
“Always,” he said. “That’s my coach.”