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Bears kicker Gould to miss long snapper Mannelly

FootballChicago White SoxAlzheimer's DiseaseJim McMahonNHLNew Year's DayU.S. Cellular Field

Bears kicker Robbie Gould and recently retired long snapper Patrick Mannelly just can't stay away from each other.

The two teamed up for Gould's Celebrity Golf Invitational at Conway Farms in Lake Forest on Monday, benefiting Gould's charity, The Goulden Touch, which has raised more than $300,000.

But Gould wouldn't dare put himself in the same pairing as Mannelly, not with all the time Mannelly has spent on the course lately.

"His game is probably pretty good right now," Gould said of Mannelly, who participated in last week's Encompass Championship.

Still, that doesn't mean Gould won't be missing his former teammate, especially now that he's transitioning to a new long snapper. He just doesn't know if it will be Brandon Hartson or Chad Rempel taking over the duties.

"There's no edge," Gould said of the position battle. "They're picking up the schemes and what they need to do. You want them to be able to block and put it in the location they need to put it. It's real specific. Mannelly was great at it. He's the best to ever play the game. You're not going to fill those shoes."

Gould said it was "special" to watch Mannelly up close during the long snapper's 16-year career with the Bears but now realizes the responsibility he'll have to take on without him.

"For me to get out there with a couple young guys and teach them the ropes like Mannelly did for me is exciting," Gould said.

McMahon par for course: Former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, who recently said publicly he has entertained thoughts of suicide during bouts of depression associated with his diagnosis of early onset dementia, was the guest of honor at Conway Farms.

Before the tournament kicked off, the participants were all handed a sweatband and sunglasses in honor of the Super Bowl XX champion, and of course McMahon was there with his trademark look — despite the clouds and rain that made up most of the morning.

Winter reunion: When the Blackhawks and Capitals drop the puck outdoors on New Year's Day in Washington, former Hawk Jack O'Callahan expects to be there with a few of his college buddies.

"They're already talking about having our 1980 Olympic team be a part of it," O'Callahan said of the Winter Classic. "Stay tuned for the details."

As for how his former NHL team could improve before next season, O'Callahan doesn't see the need to start making major moves.

"They were one bounce away from the Stanley Cup," O'Callahan said, adding that he'd like to see the Hawks get stronger on defense. "You don't have to make a lot of changes. They've been able to grow their team organically more than through free-agent signings and trades. I would expect them to continue that."

Slugging away: Consider Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk among the many baseball fans lining up to see White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu step to the plate this season.

The former White Sox centerpiece tried to catch a glimpse of the latest Cuban to join the South Siders, but Abreu was on the disabled list each time Fisk made it out to the park this year.

"He swings the bat like a man," Fisk said. "He is a man. This is his first trip around the horn here, but he's been around the world. He's not a rookie in that sense."

Don't be surprised if Fisk keeps showing up at U.S. Cellular Field. He still has an itch to hear the crack of Abreu's bat in person.

"Oh, you bet," Fisk said. "I don't know if they expected what's happening. To have it show up so quickly, that's the surprise."

Twitter @Schustee

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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FootballChicago White SoxAlzheimer's DiseaseJim McMahonNHLNew Year's DayU.S. Cellular Field