PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Two days after announcing his retirement on social media, Chris Long opened up about his career and time in Philadelphia. In Pro Football Talks “Football Morning in America,” Long spoke about what he’s learned over his 11-year career.
While the bulk of his career was played in St. Louis and he won a Super Bowl with New England, Philadelphia stole his heart.
“Going to Philadelphia, I felt I found a home. Best sports city in America,” Long said.
He says when he came to Philadelphia he was “starting from the bottom” and learned how important being a team meant.
“I was an average Joe. I was challenged. I learned how much being a team, being together, really means. We were a case study for whatever you believe. Either we were an anomaly or we proved you could do good things and win in pro sports. We happened to have guys who were good players who cared,” Long said.
While the Super Bowl championship with the Eagles is something Long, and Eagles fans, will never forget, he did spend a bulk of his career battling through hard times in St. Louis.
Long was drafted second overall by the St. Louis Rams in 2008.
“I just thought, ‘I am not gonna fold. I am not a loser. I am gonna be a bright spot. I am gonna give these fans, who I deeply appreciate for their dedication, the respect they deserve,’” Long said. “Anyone playing in that era in St. Louis knows how bad it was at times. It was carnage, in so many ways. It was a test of my will.”
He says he does get irritated by the fact that he was snubbed from the Pro Bowl considering he had 50 sacks in his first six season, but calls it a “labor of love” and has no regrets.
Following his time in St. Louis, Long won a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots and learned so much about football during his short time with them.
“In New England, I was forced to learn so many schematic concepts. In my career playing football, nobody asked me to do as much as Bill Belichick did,” Long explained. “I might be a 3-technique, or a linebacker, or a linebacker dropping into coverage more than ever, or playing inside more than ever. I’ll always remember how much I learned watching Bill in practice. He can coach any position as good as any position coach in the league.”
Long was honored to receive the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award in 2018, and wants to be remembered as a guy who spent 11 years working hard at his craft, not the community service guy.
“I was very honored. But I was also conflicted that people saw me as this community service guy, not a player. Nobody saw me as the player I was in my prime. I don’t want to be known as Community Service Guy; I want to be known as a guy who busted his [butt] for 11 years at his craft,” Long said.
He made the difficult decision to retire because he was aware his playing time with the Eagles was going to decrease and as a rhythm player he wanted to play ball.
“Man, I want to play ball. In Philadelphia, it didn’t seem there was much of a chance to compete there,” Long said. “But they were honest with me the whole time. I appreciate the honesty. I’ll always love Philadelphia and the Eagles. And I didn’t want to start over again across the country somewhere.”
While retirement is something he says he’s feared for a long time, he’s also excited.
“I am excited about the next phase of life,” Long added. “I’m launching a digital media company. I will have my own pod. I’m just excited about being able to control the narrative. I like to create. Maybe I’ll work at a network. Whatever I do, I’ll be me.”