Two days after a rib injury he sustained while covering a punt forced him to exit the Bears’ preseason opener, veteran long-snapper Patrick Mannelly was feeling much better.
“It’s a little sore, but I’m all right,” Mannelly said Sunday after arriving at the team’s dining facility in Bourbonnais on a bicycle. “It’s not as bad as I thought it would be. I’ve seen other people with them and they can’t laugh, can’t move, can’t sneeze. I haven’t sneezed yet, but I can laugh OK and everything’s all right.”
Although Mannelly sat out practice a few hours after the Bears signed rookie long-snapper Brandon Hartson Sunday, the 16-year veteran said that he expects to be ready to play in the Sept. 8 season opener.
“Yeah, I plan on it,” said Mannelly, who has appeared in a franchise-record 231 games since being selected by the Bears in the sixth round of the 1998 draft out of Duke.
Mannelly was injured when he was blindsided by Panthers safety Colin Jones on Joe Adams’ 23-yard punt return midway through the first quarter of the Bears’ 24-17 loss. The 38-year-old blamed himself for having “poor field awareness” on the play.
“I’ve been hit like that four or five or six times and it was not the shot that hurt but it was the pain afterwards that hurt the most,” Mannelly said. “Normally when you get hit like that, you kind of laugh because everybody is going to laugh at you on tape. So I started laughing and then when I got up I felt the pain in my ribs and it was, uh oh, something’s wrong.”
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Back for a Bears-record 15th season, long-snapper Patrick Mannelly is looking forward to playing in Thursday night’s preseason opener against the Broncos after missing the final six games last season with a torn ACL.
“I think anybody who has an ACL injury, the first time they come back going full speed, they’re always a little nervous,” Mannelly said. “But I’m more excited just to prove to myself that with the hard work I put into it I’m ready to go.”
Since being selected by the Bears in the sixth round of the 1998 draft out of Duke, Mannelly has appeared in a club-record 215 games. As soon as he plays in the regular season, he will break the mark he shares with linebackers Doug Buffone and Bill George for most years of service with the team.
Mannelly had only missed three games in his NFL career—one in 2001 and two in 2002—prior to last season when he was injured in a loss to the San Diego Chargers.
“It was just a freak thing and my foot got caught in the turf,” Mannelly said. “My leg planted behind me and I got hit in the front and the ligament gave.”
The 37-year-old worked extremely hard during the offseason rehabbing the injury.
“Fortunately it was just the ACL,” Mannelly said. “A lot of times when you [rupture] your ACL you’ll tear the meniscus and everything else. I didn’t do any of that, so I didn’t have to worry about that. Bobby Slater, our director of rehab here, he and I worked our [butts] off. My mentality was ‘I’m not done yet’ and I worked as hard as I could not to be done.”
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