Amidst changes throughout the Chicago Bears’ organization this offseason, Kyle Long’s health has remained a key storyline and will be so again as we move forward with this season.
Long jumped on the Dan Bernstein and Connor McKnight Show on WSCR-AM 670 to offer up an update on his health, his relationship with the coaching and training staff, and more. You can listen to the entire interview embedded below.
Here are some highlights:
- It sounds like Long is in good spirits, so when he says he feels good after an offseason that has featured multiple surgeries I’m inclined to believe him. And that he sounds like he’s ready to give it a go is also encouraging. “This is the healthiest I’ve been in quite a few years. I think the limitations will be very minimal once training camp rolls around. I’m like the dog. If you open the door to the back yard, I’m going to sprint out regardless. So they had to shut the door and limit my hours a little bit, but things are going well.”
- Long also finds himself working with a new training staff that will hopefully help the Bears be healthier as a whole in 2018 and beyond. “The new strength staff has presents new challenges for me every single day, mentally and physically. And from a confidence standpoint, when you’re coming back from these kind of things, you need somebody to push you, you need somebody to help you get through those thresholds. That’s really what’s driving me, is trying to be better this year than I was the year before and the year before that. Progress is key. Perfection is tough to attain, but if you can be better than you were the day before it’s always good.”
- So far, so good with regards to Long’s relationship with new head coach Matt Nagy. It seems as if Nagy’s history as a former player is helping him relate to active players, which could have its benefits. “I think Coach Nagy is a guy who understands what players go through. He’s smart enough to understand each guy has certain buttons you have to press, and he’s done a good job pressing mine. I really respect him. I love the changes that have been made and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do as a football team.”
- Long also had kind words for Harry Hiestand, his new position coach. “He’s got a wealth of experience, knowledge, and teaching. He’s a teacher, and that’s a great thing to have especially with a young group.”
- The potential left side of the line (whether it’s Charles Leno Jr. at left tackle and Cody Whitehair or a draft pick at left guard) is still relatively young, while right tackle Bobby Massie could use some hands-on work from a new coach. Position coaches don’t get much ink spilled on their behalf, but Hiestand has one of the most important jobs on the staff because the line will be key to the success of quarterback Mitch Trubisky and all the skill position players on offense.
- I don’t think Long is going to change spots on the line any time soon, but he didn’t necessarily commit to one position during the interview. Long did say there hasn’t been a conversation regarding a change, but I imagine his health is more of a priority than what position he’ll play. “At the end of the day, if I’m playing offensive line I’ll be happy. Wherever they need me, I’ll do my best to fill that role.”
- One thing that hasn’t changed (and hopefully won’t) is Long’s sense of humor regarding what’s going on in his world. “It’s been a long process trying to get Roger Goodell to confirm and allow a robot player in the NFL, but I’m thinking everything is going to go well.”