Kyle Long was a popular and productive member of the Chicago Bears, with a peak that included three Pro Bowl appearances from 2013-15, recognition on the 2013 NFL All-Rookie Team, and a second-team All-Pro nomination from the Associated Press in 2014.
Unfortunately, injuries ravaged Long’s career.
After missing just one game in his first three seasons, Long didn’t play a full 16-game slate in any of the final four years as a pro. From 2016-19, injuries caused Long to miss 26 games. And after ending his Bears career on injured reserve, Long retired in January 2020.
But it looks like Long’s time away from football is coming to an end:
Can confirm. Please credit Green Light Pod insider Macon Gunter. https://t.co/GqfrT3TEu1
— hydrated king chris long (@JOEL9ONE) March 9, 2021
Between Macon Gunter’s tweet and Twitter confirmation from Kyle’s brother Chris Long, it sure looks like the retired Bears lineman will soon be un-retired.
It’s a bit of a surprise, to be sure. Injuries really effed things up for Long at the end of his run with the Bears. But as WSCR’s Mark Grote notes, Long’s recent appearances on the radio station hinted at a possible return on the horizon.
After all, no ex-NFL lineman drops weight upon retirement, then returns to their playing weight a year later for fun. And for what it’s worth, Long seemed to soften his stances on Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace. Those are the kinds of steps one makes when they realize they didn’t handle leaving the league ideally. And perhaps when they want to be viewed in a positive light upon returning to the league.
On the one hand, I worry about Long pushing for a return because I’m cognizant of his injury history. It’s a laundry list of ailments that includes problems with his shoulder, ankle, finger, foot, and hip. But Long was a tough mother-trucker, so he played through plenty of pain. Ultimately, at least Long’s return to the NFL gives him a new opportunity to go out on his own terms. And to that end, we wish Long the best of luck.