Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
We had so much fun doing our Countdown to Kickoff series last season that we decided to do it again. In case you’re new to the series, we’ll do a roster preview as we count down the days until the Chicago Bears September 7th season opener against the Buffalo Bills.
For the last 16 years, there has been one starting position that the Chicago Bears have never had to worry about — long snapper. Now, with Patrick Mannelly’s retirement, the team will have to look elsewhere to fill the role and there will be plenty of new faces to choose from.
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One of those options will come in the form of a former Canadian Football League wide receiver, Chad Rempel.
Rempel (6-2, 214) is a 32-year-old journeyman who began his career in 2004 after being drafted in the third round of the CFL Draft by the Edmonton Eskimos. He would go on to play for seven more teams, in various short stints, over the course of the next 10 years, which included Bears coach Marc Trestman’s former squad, the Montreal Alouettes. Besides football, Rempel was also part of a bobsled team that won the Canadian four-man bobsled championship in Whistler, British Columbia in 2009.
Although he doesn’t bring along an NFL-caliber resume, Rempel is entering a wide-open competition at the long snapper position. The Bears signed fellow long snapper Brandon Hartson last August when Mannelly went down with a rib injury and he will compete with Rempel during training camp for the right to take over the position. Rempel may be several years older than Hartson, but what he brings to the table is versatility. As a former wide receiver, he’ll need to show his speed and agility as well as strong coverage skills, just as Mannelly used to do.
Nobody will be able to truly replace Mannelly, but luckily for the Bears they have 46 days until kickoff to figure it out.
Be on the lookout for our Countdown to Kickoff series as we continue to work our way to the season opener on September 7th. We’re 46 days from kickoff. Are you ready???