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Bears' Patrick Mannelly on Playing Another Year: "We Will See"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Last week Jared Allen was questioned if he still had much left in the tank for the Chicago Bears at age 32.

    "How old is Patrick Mannelly?" Allen asked NBC5 Chicago. "He's got to be 40 and he's still playing!"

    Almost. At 38 years old, Bears long snapper Mannelly holds the franchise record playing 245 games in a Bears uniform. It could be more if he decides to play in 2014.

    Mannelly had minor hip surgery after the 2013 season ended and is still rehabbing. He is a free agent without a contract but knows no other team but the Bears.

    "If I feel good in a month or so I'd like to give it a go another year," Mannelly told NBC5 Chicago in a text message. "I honestly want to listen to my body. We all think we can play forever, but I have been fortunate to play for a long time and we will see."

    Sixteen years after the Georgia native was the Bears' 6th round draft pick out of Duke, Mannelly has played more seasons than any other in franchise history: two more seasons than Doug Buffone and Bill George, and three more than Olin Kreutz who was in the same 1998 draft class. 

    Mannelly is the only player from the '98 draft still playing with the team that selected him.

    Bears teammates on Tuesday honored Mannelly with the Ed Block Courage Award, an honor voted by his teammates for exemplifying a commitment to sportsmanship and courage. 

    Mannelly has been a captain in the Bears locker room under coaches Dave Wannstedt, Dick Jauron, Lovie Smith and now Marc Trestman. His relationship with General Manager Phil Emery goes back to when Mannelly was drafted and Emery was still a Bears scout.

    Emery signed a pair of long snappers this offseason as insurance in case Mannelly decides to retire. The 6'5" long snapper is not expected to shop his services around, though. He'd rather move on to the next phase of his life. 

    Last year Mannelly shadowed player personnel executives to get a feel for that side of football. He also co-hosted "All Access" with Zach Zaidman on the Bears radio network, getting a taste of broadcasting too.

    Mannelly will make his decision in the next month or so, plenty of time for Jared Allen to grow another mullet -- unless Mannelly retires that too.