Chicago Bears guard Kyle Long announced his retirement on Twitter on Sunday in a surprise revelation from the seven-year veteran.
Long, 31, is a three-time Pro Bowler, but appears to have grown weary of the injury toll he has suffered in the NFL.
Some chicagoans are probably happy to hear I’m finally stepping away and getting my body right. Some Chicagoans may be sad to hear this. Either way ufeel about it, I want u to know how lucky I am to have spent time in your city. I became a man while playing in Chicago.Thank you❤️— Kyle Long (@Ky1eLong) January 6, 2020
Long later clarified that by “stepping away,” he is indeed retiring from football.
Rachael, look on the bright side.... I was drafted a bear and I decided to retire a bear. Not many can say that 🤟🏻 https://t.co/pZMBMpBhuW— Kyle Long (@Ky1eLong) January 6, 2020
Successful start to career
Long made the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons with Chicago after being selected in the first round of the 2013 draft out of Oregon. He missed just one game across those three seasons, but has not played in more than 10 games in a single season since.
He suffered severe ligament damage with an ankle injury in 2016 that required surgery and cost him half the season. He also had surgery to repair a torn labrum that season.
Injuries piled up
Long played in just four games in 2019 before a hip injury ended his season. It occurred prior to a Week 4 game against the Minnesota Vikings that he sat out. He returned to play every snap of a Week 5 game against the Oakland Raiders before the team placed him on injured reserve for the fourth straight season.
Between the injured reserve designation and general manager Ryan Pace’s comments this past week, it appears that Long’s time in Chicago may have been up regardless of his decision to retire.
“We think the world of him,” Pace told reporters on Tuesday. “It’s unfortunate he’s had a handful of injuries and he’s tried to battle through all of them. Kyle does have an option in his contract that we’ve got to look at.
“That’ll be one of the many decisions we have to make on him. But I feel bad for all the injuries he’s tried to overcome. That was a decision we made at the time, and we’ll have to make another decision this offseason with his option.”
Long played his entire career with the Bears.
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