Former Chicago Bears guard Kyle Long took a year off in “retirement” before signing with the Kansas City Chiefs this week. The three-time Pro Bowler said the season off helped him regain his vigor.
“It was a tremendous opportunity for me to regain physical, mental and emotional composure,” Long said of last year, via Nate Taylor of The Athletic. “I played a lot of golf, spent a lot of time with my fiancée and got to see my nephews, which was something I didn’t get to do a lot while I was playing.”
After starting his career with back-to-back-to-back Pro Bowls, Long dealt with injuries for his final four seasons in Chicago. He played just four games in 2019 before taking a sabbatical. The 32-year-old said he spent the season getting healthy and bulking back up.
“It’s the renaissance year for me, the rebirth,” Long said. “I understand what it takes to play in this game and be dominant. I’ve been ‘Rocky IV’-ing it, man, just locking myself in that cabin and getting after it.”
If healthy and back in form, Long can provide a significant upgrade to the Chiefs offensive line. Along with newly signed Joe Thuney and the expected return of Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, K.C. has a potential surplus of capable players at guard. Questions remain at center and tackle. The Chiefs cut veterans Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher, both dealing with injuries. The Chiefs re-signed tackle Mike Remmers, who could be the answer on the right side.
Long played the majority of his first seven NFL seasons at guard but also spent time at offensive tackle. With the Chiefs’ line still unsettled, Long could be an option to plug in multiple spots.
“One thing I can tell you with conviction is I’ve never played center,” Long said, laughing. “I’m left-handed. I don’t know many left-handed centers, but I’m open to learning anything. I’ve yet to meet all the guys in the offensive line room, and I’m so looking forward to doing that and finding my place in there. I just want to help bring an edge every day.”
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