Although he wanted to play for more time, Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long appreciated the honesty from his team while making his decision.
The NFL can be a tough place for players. One day, you could be on a major contract, staring at millions of dollars. The next day, you could become a cap casualty, and suddenly that money goes away. That’s just one of the many situations, which leaves players a bit worried about their place on a team season after season.
Not everybody is a bonafide superstar, who is guaranteed whatever they want. Some guys are role players, who know exactly what they bring to the table even if it is just a small sample size of production. But once a player gets their already limited role cut short, they start to reconsider playing the game of football. That’s percisely what happened to Chris Long.
In 2018, Chris Long had the opportunity to play over 50-percent of the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive snaps. That’s more than what the Eagles likely anticipated when the season started off. However, the outcome of Long’s production didn’t exactly make them regret the decision. And honestly, the circumstances forced the Eagles to rely on Long more than they wanted to.
In the end, everything worked out for the defensive line in 2018, but the Eagles wanted to begin turning a page in 2019. In order to do that, they needed to make some changes. It started with trading veteran defensive end, Michael Bennett. Also, the changes included a reduced role for Chris Long, which forced him to want to reconsider playing, despite saying he was feeling great and still had the itch to play. Since his role was gone though, Long wasn’t willing to return. It’s nothing personal against the Eagles – Again, it’s just business.
Long appreciates the honesty
Like many teams, the Eagles could’ve lied to Long to benefit themselves. Most of the time, staffers tend to disregard the players best interest and look out for what helps the team as a whole. Not the Eagles, though – at least, not in this case they didn’t. Being that Chris Long has gained a ton of respect not only around the league but specifically in the Eagles’ locker room, Philly felt it would be best to be straight up with him. Don’t make any promises.
So when Long simply asked if his 2018 role would be available in 2019, the Eagles declined. That right there pretty much made Long’s decision an easy one. “I’m a rhythm player. I need to set people up, I need to be in the flow of the game. If I sit on the bench for three series, I can’t get rhythm, and I’ll get cold, and maybe I’ll hurt myself.” Long was sincere in Football Morning in America’s latest column.
While Long did mention he would’ve liked to play in Philadelphia for more years, and couldn’t stress it enough how much he loves it here, the situation just wasn’t right for him. And rather than packing up and trying to learn an entirely new system with different coaches in a different city for a season, the Eagles veteran decided it was just best to call it quits. Hang it up and go out as a two-time Super Bowl winner while healthy. It’s unfortunate it had to end so early, but Long seems very grateful for the Eagles as he mentioned that he appreciates their honesty from the start.