A former Chicago Bears offensive lineman is ready to make a comeback. According to ESPN, Kyle Long plans to unretire and play in 2021. Long retired from the NFL in January 2020 after playing seven seasons with the Bears. The Green Light podcast was the first to report the news.
Long, 32, was drafted by the Bears in the first round in 2013 and made an immediate impact. He became one of the best offensive guards in the league, reaching the All-Rookie Team and the Pro Bowl in 2013. He would make the Pro Bowl again in 2014 and 2015 and was named to the All-Pro Second Team in 2014. In his final seasons with the Bears, Long dealt with multiple injuries. In 2016, the Oregon alum suffered an ankle injury that cost him the final eight games of the season. He dealt with multiple injuries in 2017, which led to him missing six games.
In 2018, Long played in the Bears' first seven games of the season before suffering a foot injury. He would miss the next eight games and would return for the final game of the year. And in 2019, Long suffered a hip injury and only played in four games.
"It's always tough because the retirement's not an overnight decision," Long told Windy City Gridiron in April 2020. "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 also talked about his greatest memory with the Bears. "My greatest memory with the Bears was probably winning the NFC North," he said. "Granted, I wasn't dressed out for that game, wasn't healthy at the end of the year. Winning the NFC North was something I had never done, and I'd never been on a team that accomplished that." Long spent the 2020 season doing TV work for CBS. He is the younger brother of retired NFL defensive end Chris Long and the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long.