Former New England Patriots pass rusher Chris Long is now in Philadelphia playing for the 6-1 Eagles, but he still has a big place in his heart for the team that he helped to win a Super Bowl. He’s raising funds for education in St. Louis, Boston, and Philadelphia- his three stops in the NFL- and he’s still in close contact with his former teammates, according to SB Nation’s Charlotte Wilder.
In a great profile of Long and what he’s accomplishing off the field, Wilder gets some good information about Long’s dynamic with the Patriots and his teammates. You should read the whole thing because it’s excellent.
Wilder notes that Long “still talks often to [Martellus] Bennett, Devin McCourty, Julian Edelman, and Rob Ninkovich,” and that his Patriots teammates are “some of his closest friends.” Edelman actually texted Long a simple message (“so tight”) upon hearing about Long’s charitable endeavors.
Long also shared a story of how he loves to pull pranks and once pulled a pretty good one on Danny Amendola.
“Last year, he listed his former Patriots teammate Danny Amendola’s number on a fake Craigslist ad for a Suzuki Spider,” Wilder writes, “then watched a bewildered Amendola field calls from people looking to buy his nonexistent motorcycle.”
Long showed interest in signing with the Detroit Lions in 2016, but decided to throw a Hail Mary of his own. After losing year after year with the St. Louis Rams, Long wanted a chance to win, so he “reached out to Bill Belichick and the Patriots,” Wilder reports. “New England wasn’t the perfect schematic fit for Long in terms of defense, but he just wanted to win, so Belichick said he’d find something for him to do.”
That’s awesome to hear and I love the idea of veterans from the Rams, Browns, and other historically bad teams calling Belichick and just asking for a chance to win a game. Like, they’ll play for the minimum because they just want to reach the postseason. That’s the magic of Bill and the Patriots.
Long left the Patriots on good terms because he wanted to play in more of a pure 4-3 defensive front instead of the 5-2 bear front of the Patriots. He wanted to be on the edge instead of on the inside. While his role has reduced further with the Eagles this year (he’s fallen from 65% of the snaps with the Patriots to 45% with the Eagles), he’s “happy with his role.”
“He also knows that as an active player, he has a bigger platform to raise money and speak out than he would if he retired,” Wilder writes.
Good on Long for using his platform for positive change. He has raised over $200,000 for his cause, in addition to his $1 million in game day checks that he’s donated, and the number is climbing every day.