Article by: Peter Caceci
After two electrifying seasons as a defensive end for the Philadelphia Eagles, Chris Long has finally decided to end his 10-year football career by announcing the decision via social media on May 18, 2019. A must-need player for every team, Long was always the type of person to go above and beyond to reach the championship. As much as his accomplishments were impactful on the field, it was his actions off the field that made people from all over the world look to him as an icon.
Being the son of famed defensive end Howie Long, Chris harnessed his father’s appetites of football by continuing the legacy. In 2008, Long was drafted as the second pick to the St. Louis Rams. During his 7-year tenure on the team, Long was found to be a “natural fit” to the defensive schemes, averaging 35.1 combined tackles a season, and starting every game for much of his time there. Unfortunately, his last two seasons were very minimal due to injuries, and he would be let go at the end of the 2015 season.
Long would then continue making his mark on the league by signing a 1-year deal with the powerhouse New England Patriots. Again, he started every game, and would help his new team post a formidable 14-2 record to go to Super Bowl LI against the Atlanta Falcons. Losing going into the third quarter, Long would aid Tom Brady by leading the defense to holding Matt Ryan’s offense. His efforts would award him his first title, along with a combined 35 tackles for that season alone while also accumulating 4 sacks.
One title would not be enough for a hungry dog like Chris Long, who along with fellow ex-Patriot LeGarrette Blount, would move to the Philadelphia Eagles, a team who was desperately trying to be a contender. Following his signing, Long announced that he would be donating his entire 2017 salary to different charities throughout the season. Long would say shortly after the decision, “I hope it won’t stop here, but that more people will become inspired to commit energy and resources to our educational system. It will be the number of people invested in this cause that will be the difference maker for a quality education for every student in America.”
His two seasons with the Eagles would be very hard to forget, as his experience and depth with opposing defenses would aid to 28 combined tackles along with 5 sacks. Going into the offseason, it was an awkward moment for Long, as he would be facing his former team in Super Bowl LII. Nevertheless, Long and the Eagles defense came in clutch by defeating Tom Brady’s last attempt to win the game, sealing the deal for his back-to-back Super Bowl titles. His following season with the Eagles was just as great, although without another deep playoff appearance, with the leadership and his hard-work on and off the field, he would post 23 combined tackles with 6.5 sacks to finish off his fantastic career.
The NFL has watched closely to what Long has done off the field to help the surrounding communities. Aside with donating his entire salary, Long has established The Chris Long Foundation, which helps underprivileged countries by providing necessary resources such as fresh drinking water, military appreciation, and helping the lives of the homeless and youth with better living standards and financial support. For his extremely dedicated actions, Long was awarded the 2018 Walter Payton Man of the Year, gaining an endless amount of respect from many different players around the league.
As an Eagles fan, I will miss Chris Long’s domination against opposing offenses. After last season, I just felt as if there was something to finish, perhaps a second Super Bowl title. He was someone who again could unite the locker room, and push everyone around him to 110%. Every single game that I watched him play, he always had a smile on his face, and in the game of football, that is a rarity. I hope that the current Eagles defense will take it upon themselves to replicate his spirit both on and off the field, as he will find himself in Canton, Ohio someday.
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