Chicago Bears long snapper Patrick Mannelly retires

Bears long snapper Mannelly retires after 16 years

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Chicago Bears long snapper Patrick Mannelly announced his retirement from the NFL on Friday.

No other player in Bears history wore the team's orange and blue uniform more than Mannelly who played his entire 16-year career with Chicago.

Mannelly, 39, holds the teams all-time records in games played (245) and seasons played. His 245 games played are tied for 43rd most in NFL history.

On Friday, Bears Chairman George H. McCaskey said it's hard to talk about Mannelly "in the past tense."

"He was a captain, someone his teammates looked up to and sought guidance, direction and inspiration, and he provided it," McCaskey said in statement. "He's the epitome of what a Chicago Bear is all about."

Mannelly was selected by Chicago in the sixth round (189th overall) of the 1998 NFL Draft out of Duke University and immediately took over long snapping duties as a rookie.

He was part a part of four division championships (2001, 2005, 2006, 2010), an NFC Championship (2006) and appeared in seven playoff games including two NFC title games.

He also contributed to an NFL record for the Bears for most consecutive unblocked punts (920) and games without and unblocked punt (180).

Bears General Manager Phil Emery said that although he respects Mannelly's decision, he was deeply saddened by the news.

"We are losing a great person and a great player, one who will always remain a Bear in our hearts," Emery said in a statement. "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."

A symbol of durability, Mannelly only missed 11 games during his NFL career.

He was voted by teammates and coaches as the Bears special teams captain every year since 2008 and was also the recipient of Chicago's Ed Block Courage Award in 2013.

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