After sitting out a year to spend more time with family and heal up from a myriad of injuries, offensive lineman Kyle Long announced he was ready to reverse his retirement earlier this month to return to the game he loves. Just like that, teams expressed an interest in the longtime Chicago Bears lineman and his first couple visits got underway. Fortunately for the K.C. Chiefs, he would never make a third trip.
After visiting the Las Vegas Raiders and Chiefs, Long decided to cancel his free agent showcase by signing a one-year deal worth up to $5 million to stay in K.C. Just like that, the Chiefs had added their second strong signing for the offensive line after decided to basically wipe the slate clean from one side to another.
Long brings a strong veteran presence who can still be one of the league’s. most physically dominant linemen when healthy, and the Chiefs are banking on Long’s year away from the game to allow him to play more than he did in recent seasons in Chicago. Over this last four seasons in Chicago, Long averaged a meager 7 games per season, which means expectations likely aren’t too high for Chiefs fans knowing his health concerns in the past. That said, he’s a three-time Pro Bowler who’s enjoyed considerable time to recover.
Were you surprised when you read that Long was interested in coming back?
A little, but only because I thought he was enjoying working in Chicago media too much. Now that he’s had time to heal his body though, it makes sense he’d want to go back. I think he felt forced out and probably wants to prove he still has it.
Were you surprised when he initially decided to retire?
Again, a little. He obviously loved the game, but he also dealt with injury after injury the last few seasons. He hadn’t played a full season since 2015. The Bears didn’t do his body any justice by moving him to right tackle and then back to guard. With his injuries, I can understand why he chose to retire, but I’m happy to see him land with a team like the Chiefs.
Does it feel silly to count on Long for a starting role at this point given the injury history and year off?
He’s clearly not going to walk in and start in Kansas City. As you stated, he’s been away from the game too long. That said, Long has versatility to play RT if needed. With the loss of Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, Kyle Long made perfect sense as a depth player who can push to start.
When Kyle Long is at his best, what does he bring to the table?
If healthy, the Chiefs will find Kyle Long to quickly become a fan-favorite. He is my all-time favorite offensive lineman and the only offensive lineman jersey I will ever own. He is passionate, loyal and very physical. If healthy, he should push to start. He is a mauler who never backs down, it doesn’t matter who is in front of him. His pass blocking is not his strongest suit, but he is still above average in that category too. It will all come down to health and fatigue from not playing since October of 2019.