Some of the Chicago Bears players that fans know and constantly see are Jay Cutler, Lance Briggs and Devin Hester. Even though these players are valuable to the team, there’s still 50 others on the roster. These players contribute to the triumphs and tribulations of the Bears, and yet are not well known unless there is an injury or something dramatic.
I consider Patrick Mannelly to be one of these players. Older Bears fans will know him because of his longstanding career with the Bears, as this will be his 15th season, but the younger generation of fans might not appreciate the gem that is in Chicago.
To me, Mannelly is a hidden hero on the Bears. People might not know how important a long snapper can be. You need to have the knowledge and precision to be able to snap the ball to holder. There’s a reason why every team has a specialized long snapper. Used in punts, field goals and extra points, Mannelly’s performance could mean the difference between a loss and a win.
He also helped Bears kicker Robbie Gould to be one of the most consistent kickers in the NFL and is always one of the first guys down the field in coverage. That to me is invaluable.
Mannelly was injured in the preseason with a few cracked ribs, and made light of the situation by being more concerned about being made fun of by his fellow teammates rather than his injury. Mannelly is still expected to play by the time the first game in the regular season against the Cincinnati Bengals comes around.