Bears' longest-tenured player Mannelly retires

Lake Forest, IL ( - Chicago Bears long snapper Patrick Mannelly announced his retirement Friday.

Mannelly played his entire 16-year career with the Bears and holds the team record for most games played with 245.

"It's difficult to talk about Patrick as a player in the past tense," said Bears chairman George H. McCaskey in a statement Friday. "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."

The Bears selected Mannelly in the sixth round of the 1998 NFL Draft and the Duke product immediately took over as the club's long snapper. He notched 81 career special teams tackles, third-most for a Bears player since the statistic became official in 1995.

"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 Bears 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."

Mannelly had been voted a special teams captain each year since 2008 and missed just 11 games in his NFL career. He helped the Bears to four division titles and the 2006 NFC championship.

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