When Brian Urlacher was let go a year ago, there was a sense of the end of an era.
But today, someone who spent even more time with the Bears is going to step away.
According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, veteran long snapper Patrick Mannelly will announce his retirement today.
Mannelly spent 16 years with the Bears, and they were open to having him return from hip surgery. But the 39-year-old Mannelly is walking away, leaving the team looking for someone to do the anonymous-yet-crucial job for the first time since 1997.
That guy is probably the greatest long snapper to ever play the game,” kicker Robbie Gould said. “Trying to fill those shoes, . . . those guys can’t even think about that. It’s not that it is not possible, it’s something they shouldn’t be worried about.”
Mannelly played 245 games for the Bears, and well ahead of Olin Kreutz and Steve McMichael, who are tied for second with 191 appearances.