Bears think twice about rolling with rookie long snapper

The Chicago Bears thought about going with a rookie long snapper for about 48 hours.

Then they thought better of it.

The team signed veteran long snapper Chris Massey on Thursday after he won a three-man tryout. The Bears waived rookie Jake Laptad, who had been signed Tuesday, to make room for Massey, who snapped for the St. Louis Rams for nine years.

The team has to replace 14-year veteran Pat Mannelly, who was lost for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee last Sunday. Laptad had snapped some in training camp and preseason and the Bears looked at him for two weeks on the practice squad last month. But the last time he snapped in a non-exhibition game was in high school.

With the Bears in the thick of the NFC playoff race at 7-3, the decision was made to go with a veteran snapper who will ease the minds of the coaching staff and teammates. Sources said Laptad was OK in Wednesday’s practice, but the Bears wanted to feel comfortable.

Massey beat out James Dearth, who has bounced around five clubs, and Christian Yount to win the job. Yount is a rookie who snapped for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for six games earlier this season. That's the nomadic life of long snappers looking for work. They show up for tryouts on Thanksgiving Day.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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