Marcedes Lewis To Return to Chicago Bears for 19th NFL Season

After turning 40 last month, Marcedes Lewis is returning to the Chicago Bears in 2024 for his 19th NFL season.

With mandatory minicamps starting to get underway, the Chicago Bears are bringing back tight end Marcedes Lewis once again for his 19th season in the NFL. With almost 20 years under his belt, where does he stand in NFL history and on the Bears’ depth chart?

Marcedes Lewis Re-Signs With Chicago Bears

The Bears announced on Monday that Lewis, who turned 40 last month, would be returning on a one-year contract. It sets him up for the 19th year of his career and second season with the Bears.

Drafted in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Lewis spent the first 12 seasons of his career in Jacksonville, Fla. He then spent five seasons with the Green Bay Packers from 2018-22 before joining the Bears in 2023.

His combined 268 game appearances between three teams, with 225 of them as starts, is the most in the NFL among active players.

In his career, he’s caught 436 passes for 5,113 yards and 40 touchdowns. However, he’s been relegated to mostly a blocking tight end late in his career, standing at 6’6″ and 265 pounds. He’s only caught more than 10 passes twice since 2018, recording no more than 214 yards in a season during that timeframe.

Longest Careers in NFL History — Where Does Lewis Stand?

Among active players, Lewis is in sole possession of second place just behind Aaron Rodgers, who has played 19 seasons. However, there are still almost 30 players in NFL history who had longer careers.

A majority of those players, especially those at the top were kickers and punters, the two positions that get hit the least. The top three players with the longest careers, George Blanda, Morten Andersen, and Adam Vinatieri were all kickers and played 26, 25, and 24 seasons, respectively.

MORE: Who’s the Oldest Player in NFL History?

However, some other positions have seen long careers, such as quarterback. Tom Brady is the most notable example, with 23 seasons under his belt. Vinny Testaverde, Drew Brees, and Brett Favre are some other examples, playing 21, 20, and 20 seasons, respectively.

Finally, there’s everyone else, the guys who get hit the most. Among them, Jerry Rice is the prime example of longevity, playing 20 seasons as a wide receiver. Lewis, though, already holds the NFL record for most seasons in the NFL by a tight end.

Bears’ Tight End Depth Chart

While he’s definitely the most tenured tight end on the team, Lewis will likely return once again as just a blocking piece. Ahead of him will be Cole Kmet, the leading option for the team, and Gerald Everett, who signed in March.

Kmet has been with the Bears since 2020 after being taken in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He’s caught 211 passes for 2,118 yards and 15 touchdowns. Additionally, he signed a four-year, $50 million contract extension in July 2023. In addition to his receiving ability, he’s also a formidable blocker.

SEE MORE: Chicago Bears’ Depth Chart

Then there’s Everett, who’s joining the fourth team of his career. He spent the first years of his career with the Los Angeles Rams after being taken in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He then played for the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Chargers from 2021-2023 before signing with Chicago.

As opposed to Kmet, Everett is more of a receiving-first tight end. He’s caught 284 passes for 2,833 yards and 19 touchdowns. His limited blocking skills likely mean Kmet will start and the Bears will rotate Everett and Lewis back and forth depending on what they need, receiving or blocking-wise.

In addition to the top three tight ends, the Bears also roster two more tight ends who can compete for a spot on the active roster, Stephen Carlson and Tom Sweeney, who combine for 24 receptions, 227 yards, and two touchdowns.

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