During the Chicago Bears awful home-opening loss to the Green Bay Packers, a play happened that evaded the attention of both announcers Cris Collinsworth and Al Michaels, as well as most people watching from home.
After Bears tight end Adam Shaheen dropped a pass in the second half, Bears guard Kyle Long, who evidently wasn’t sure if the play resulted in a completion or not, hustled after the ball when he saw it on the turf. It was a dead ball, but that didn’t matter to Long. The end result was a hilarious Kris Bryant-type slide that was both entertaining and ultimately meant as a lesson to the young players on the team. Take a look:
Former Bears Center Olin Kreutz Tweeted the Video at Long
Olin Kreutz tweeted the play out initially, noting that he loved Long’s awareness and the fact that Long ended up with the ball in his hands when it was all said and done. Long was likely trying to set an example for the younger players about hustle on every single play. A seasoned veteran, he has learned the hard way what can happen if players let a ball sit on the turf too long.
During the last game of the season against Green Bay in 2013–a game that ended up resulting in Green Bay making the playoffs while they eliminated the Bears from contention–the Bears neglected to hustle after a live ball that Julius Peppers had knocked out of Aaron Rodgers’ hand, thinking it was an incomplete pass. It wasn’t, and the Packers picked the ball up and ran it into the end zone for a touchdown. That play ended up being the difference in that game, as the Bears lost, 33-28. Long likely remembers this debacle, and was trying to prevent it from happening again.
Long Used the Play as a Teaching Moment
It’s likely Shaheen, who is entering his third year, wasn’t aware of that particular play from Bears history, so when Long came charging at him, taking both he and the Packer defending him to the ground, he had to have been taken completely by surprise. He and the team’s younger players should remember Long’s hustle going forward. The end result was hilarious, to be sure, but it also contained a crucial lesson: never leave the ball on the grass. Sure, the result of the play was an incomplete pass, but that’s not the point. Hustle and awareness are necessary to success in football–that’s the point.
Shaheen has been a disappointment so far for the Bears, and this is the season he will have to prove himself if he wants to remain a Bear. His career has been riddled with injuries, and he hasn’t been on the field for a full season yet.