Bears re-sign TE Marcedes Lewis — a ‘special human being’ — for the 40-year-old’s 19th NFL season

CHICAGO — Tight end Marcedes Lewis is returning to the Chicago Bears to play in his 19th NFL season.

The Bears announced the one-year deal with Lewis, 40, on Monday ahead of their final week of organized team activities this offseason.

The 6-foot-6, 267-pound Lewis played in all 17 games for the Bears in 2023, serving primarily as a blocking tight end while also making four catches for 29 yards and a touchdown. General manager Ryan Poles made it a point to single out Lewis at his end-of-season news conference in January for his leadership.

“That’s a special human being,” Poles said. “And I know he’s played a lot in this league, but he was a really key addition to our staff, our team and locker room. The leadership through some of the hard times, the things that he said to pull guys together was outstanding, and I’m really, really thankful for him.”

The Bears upgraded the tight end position by signing Gerald Everett to join starter Cole Kmet this offseason. They also have Stephen Carlson, Tommy Sweeney and rookie Brenden Bates on the roster.

Lewis played his first 12 seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and five with the Green Bay Packers before joining the Bears. He has 436 catches for 5,113 yards and 40 touchdowns in his 18 seasons, including a career-best 58 catches for 700 yards and 10 touchdowns in a Pro Bowl season in 2010.

He takes pride in his role as an elite blocker at this stage of his career, and he sounded sure in January that he would return in that role with some team.

“My mental fortitude is something that I lean on and I can hang my hat on,” Lewis said as Bears players cleaned out their lockers at the end of the season.

“The stuff that I put on film this year is stuff that I can be proud of, and it’s crazy because I’ll be 40 in May, but when you watch the film, it doesn’t look like it. I just want to continue to get better this offseason. I’ve had the same routine for about 15, 16 years minus a couple things. Sometimes I add some things to my routine, but I’ll be ready to go when my number is called.”

Bears veterans left Lake Forest after the team’s mandatory minicamp last week, and this week’s OTAs sessions are mostly for rookies. But Lewis will be on board when training camp begins next month.