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Thursday, March 21, 2013
Bears sign ex-Chiefs TE Maneri

By Jeff Dickerson

Steve Maneri
Steve Maneri played the past two seasons for the Chiefs.
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears signed blocking tight end Steve Maneri to a two-year deal, the team announced on Thursday.

The Bears, Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys were the most aggressive in their pursuit of Maneri, while the Cincinnati Bengals showed varying degrees of interest, according to a league source.

The 6-foot-6, 280-pound Maneri started eight games and played over 400 snaps for the Kansas City Chiefs last season, but because he didn't exactly fit in Chiefs coach Andy Reids' offense, Kanas City opted not to offer him an exclusive rights free agent tender. It's believed the Chiefs best offer to Maneri was a split salary contract, which pays a player less than the league minimum if he goes on injured reserve.

Maneri signed with the Texans as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Temple in 2010, but failed to make the club's 53-man roster, and spent the majority of his rookie season on the New England Patriots' practice squad. Maneri got picked up by the Chiefs after the Pats cut him at the end of the 2011 preseason.

Maneri, a college teammate of Bears' 2012 fourth-round draft choice Evan Rodriguez, is the second new addition at tight end this offseason. The Bears released veterans Kellen Davis and Matt Spaeth last week after signing Martellus Bennett to a four-year, $20.4 million contract.

Spaeth quickly landed on his feet and had agreed to terms on a two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steeler, but Davis remains unsigned.

Davis, who started 35 games for the Bears, is visiting the Cleveland Browns on Thursday, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.