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Bears long snapper Patrick Mannelly undecided on return

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If Patrick Mannelly returns, it will be for a franchise-record 17th season with the Bears.

“It would be tough to put on another helmet for another team,” he said Tuesday.

The Bears want the long snapper back, too. Mannelly said he and general manager Phil Emery have been in contact while Mannelly rehabs after having hip surgery
Jan. 23. It typically takes four to six months to recover.

After receiving the team’s Ed Block Courage Award at Maryville Academy in Des Plaines on Tuesday, Mannelly flew to San Diego, where he’ll train with specialists.

Mannelly will decide whether to retire or play another season once his health improves, but he sounded optimistic about returning.

He said the excitement surrounding the team’s offseason additions will make a difference in his decision.

“[It was] great to see Phil Emery make the moves he’s making,” Mannelly said.

If he returns, Mannelly said he’d like to be ready for part of the team’s offseason team activities, which start in late May.

“Athletes, you never want to quit,” he said. “My heart and my head’s there, but you’ve got to be smart and listen to your body.”

Emery was smart to sign long snapper Chad Rempel on Monday, Mannelly said.

“I’ll be 39 this year,” he said. “I don’t know if I’m going to be back. They need to take care of their roster. That’s the most important thing.”

The Bears continued to add to their special-teams depth Tuesday, claiming wide receiver Josh Bellamy off waivers from the Redskins.

Bellamy, who turns 25 in May, was let go Saturday after appearing in five games and making two special-teams tackles for the Redskins last season.

The 6-foot, 206-pounder spent 2012 and most of the 2013 preseason with the Chiefs before signing with the Chargers in September.

He has experience returning kicks, too, averaging 18.5 yards on four tries in 2012.

Bellamy played at Louisville, where new Bears assistant defensive-line coach Clint Hurtt served as an assistant from 2010 to ’13.

NOTE:

Also Tuesday, the Bears signed veteran tight end Matthew Mulligan to a one-year deal. Primarily a blocker, the 29-year-old has started 24 games and appeared in 41 more in five seasons with the Jets (2009-11), Rams (2012) and Patriots (2013). “Got a blocking TE,” starter Martellus Bennett tweeted. “Yay!”

◆ Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller was set to meet with the Bears on Tuesday but had to postpone because of travel complications.

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @patrickfinley



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