Ex-Bears 3x Pro Bowler Returning to NFL After Retirement: Report

Kyle Long return

Getty Former Bears offensive linemen Matt Slauson and Kyle Long

Kyle Long is returning to the NFL after a one-year absence. The former three-time Pro Bowl guard for the Chicago Bears left the game in January of 2020, and after being released by the Bears, he didn’t play at all last season. Now, according to Macon Gunter of the Green Light Podcast — also known as the pod of Long’s older brother Chris — the former Bears’ o-lineman is “healthy, happy, nasty, and shredded, and has signed with Jeff Nalley of Select Sports Group.”

Chris Long, who spent 11 seasons in the league, confirmed his brother’s return on Twitter, and the 33-year-old o-lineman discussed his return with Red Line Radio shortly after the news broke Tuesday.

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Injury History Will Be Primary Concern for Long Coming Out of Retirement

Long weighed in at 332 pounds when he last played in 2019, and according to Gunter’s Tweet, he has dropped approximately 15 pounds since then. A laundry list of injuries will be the chief concern for teams interested in acquiring his services. A first-round pick for the Bears in 2013, Long made the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons before suffering varied injures every year after that.

He hasn’t played in more than 10 games in a season since 2015, when he made his third and final Pro Bowl. Throughout his seven-year career, he suffered a torn labrum, strained triceps, and back, foot, ankle and shoulder injuries, to name a few.

For what it’s worth, Long has been posting some hardcore workout videos on his Instagram, and he looks pretty fit in them:

Long Won’t Be Returning to Chicago

Long has been saying for some time that if he un-retired, he wouldn’t go back to Chicago to play for the Bears, and when he spoke to Red Line Radio Tuesday afternoon, he confirmed this.

“I would play for the Bears for significantly less than you think, but, unfortunately I can’t put my pride aside and go back to a coaching staff that let me go,” Long said. “I’m not here to hate on anybody, I mean, look: circumstances were an old, crusty, angry f*** keeps getting hurt, he’s probably a distraction in the building, he’s a goofball, yada yada yada, and he’s expensive. So, at that point, I mean, yeah, I get it, but still — I’m not going back to that s***.”

Where does he want to play? He didn’t get specific, but he suggested anywhere he landed would be more fun than playing for Matt Nagy again.

“I’d rather go have fun in a new environment. There’s a ton of teams out there that probably need o-line and you guys see that right now. There’s a ton of injuries, so why not throw your chips on the table somewhere?”

Last June, Long said he would always root for the Bears, but also noted: “I have supported this staff and the roster … Believe in the team and the coaches. But that doesn’t mean I would want to play for them.”

He meant what he said, and for the first time in his career, Long will be playing for someone else.

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