Kyle Long is back in the NFL. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the former Chicago Bears offensive lineman is signing a one-year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs. The contract is worth up to $5 million, and Long will join a Chiefs team that has played in the Super Bowl the last two seasons.
Long returns to football after retiring from the game last year. It was reported by the Green Light podcast last week that Long was unretiring and was set to make a comeback. Long, who was named to the All-Pro Second Team in 2014, told Windy City Gridiron why he is leaving football.
“It’s always tough because the retirement’s not an overnight decision,” Long said. “It’s something that, as you’re alluding to, you lead up to it. In my case, it took a while. It took a few years for my body to really fail, and when it did, I said, ‘hey, I don’t want to be out there, not able to move around, not feeling good. I understand that football’s this big and life is this big, and I packed up my bags, and I walked out, and you know what? I’m happy for it. I don’t want to have to take the abuse if I can’t handle it physically.”
Long was drafted by the Bears in the first round in 2013 and made an immediate impact. He was named to the Pro Bowl and Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie Team in 2013. He made the Pro Bowl again in 2014 and 2015 and was considered one of the best offensive guards in the NFL. However, Long began to get hit with injuries in his last four seasons in the NFL, leading him to take some time off.
The Chiefs are looking to bolster the offensive line after losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl in February. The team recently signed Joe Thuney, an offensive lineman who won two Super Bowls with the New England Patriots.
"Long was only healthy enough to start 12 games combined in 2018 and '19 before injuries and self-evaluation led to him retiring before the 2020 season," Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com wrote about Long. "Intending to make a comeback, the veteran is still worth a flier in case his body has healed enough to recover his Pro Bowl form."