Massey brings experience to special teams

Chicago's new long snapper, Chris Massey, is a nine-year veteran. He talked today about helping the Bears during the team's upcoming push for the playoffs.

Bears fans might be wringing their hands over the injuries to Jay Cutler and Patrick Mannelly, but to the newest Chicago hire, long snapper Chris Massey, it's all part of the game.

Massey was signed by the team yesterday after beating out James Dearth, Christian Yount and rookie Jake Laptad, who was waived by the team to make room on the roster for Massey.

"There's no need for fans to panic," Massey said of the recent injuries. "Really, I'm telling the truth here. It's the NFL. Players come in and players go down. Pat Mannelly will be back again but I'm more than happy to fill in for him during his absence."

The reason Massey refuses to lose his cool? He's a veteran with nine seasons of experience with the Rams.

LS Chris Massey
Al Messerschmidt/Getty

He was released by St. Louis last season and subsequently spent a week with the Carolina Panthers. He knows Mike Martz and understands his system and is familiar with Chicago's style of play.

"This isn't rocket science, what I do," said Massey. "And it's something that I've been doing for years. I was a long snapper in high school and again in college. I've lined up for 135 games already as a pro. This is second nature to me."

Mannelly has been a fixture on the Bears' roster the last 14 years, the longest tenure of any current player. He was placed on injured reserve this week after rupturing his ACL this past Sunday. Laptad was signed to a three-year deal on Tuesday but was then replaced by Massey after struggling in practice.

"I feel sorry about that," Massey said. "It's tough on a rookie to get your hopes up like that, then get waived. But again, it's all a part of this game. He'll be back and he'll be better than ever."

Being a long snapper was something that Massey always felt he could do.

"There aren't that many guys in the league, or in college, who can do that particular thing, or who would even want to do it, so it can be a great career path," he said. "To me, it felt comfortable. I understood the technique and enjoyed playing the position."

What about communication with his new teammates? Is that a work in progress?

"No not really. Because of the unique situation in terms of what is going on in the game when I am called to come in, it's pretty much the same from team to team. It's straightforward. I will be working with the team this week so I think we can smooth over any rough spots during those practices."

Massey is even relaxed about going into Oakland's "Black Hole".

"I've already been there, nine, maybe 10 times. It's not that bad. You just block out what is going on in the stands and pay attention to your job. Everything is fine if you are able to concentrate."

Despite his mellow demeanor,the 32-year-old Massey fully understands the importance of winning from here on out.

"The team has confidence. That was immediately apparent to me. I am looking forward to this opportunity to help them reach the playoffs. This should be a fun ride."

Beth Gorr has been covering the Bears for the last 12 years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.

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