It was clear from the jump this year that Kyle Long, 31, was not his usual bruising, punishing self. The interior of the Bears’ line struggled mightily at the outset of the season, and, frankly, was only marginally better even after Long was placed on Injured Reserve in October with a hip injury.
For that reason, it isn’t a shock – though it’s a bit sad – to learn that Long is stepping away from the game:
Some chicagoans are probably happy to hear I’m finally stepping away and getting my body right. Some Chicagoans may be sad to hear this. Either way ufeel about it, I want u to know how lucky I am to have spent time in your city. I became a man while playing in Chicago.Thank you❤️
— Kyle Long (@Ky1eLong) January 6, 2020
It’s not entirely clear just yet if Long is going to fully retire, or if he’s going to try to get healthy and work his way back eventually, with the Bears or otherwise.
Long’s deal with the Bears has no guaranteed salary remaining, though he’s owed $1.5 million of his 2016 signing bonus, and that would still count against the 2020 cap, assuming he gets to keep it. Long was potentially going to be a cap casualty anyway (saving the Bears $8.1 million against the cap), but this decision gave him some autonomy in that process.
I expect we’ll get more details when things are official, and we can also get more sentimental about Long’s extremely effective time with the Bears. It was a helluva run, and Long gave everything he had.