Chris Long’s main regret about not playing for the New England Patriots last season was failing to have the chance to help them win back-to-back Super Bowls.
It stung, even though, as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, the veteran defensive end was able to not only win a second Super Bowl in a row but also do so at the Patriots’ expense.
‘When I left New England … it was tough not being a part of a chance to repeat’
And Long’s motivation to play an 11th NFL season is largely because he has another opportunity to help a team win two Vince Lombardi trophies in a row.
“This is exciting for me and this is a lot of the reason why I want to keep playing is, when I left New England, the one thing that kind of sucked about that was, although I was excited about a new opportunity, it was tough not being a part of a chance to repeat,” Long told Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan on Movin’ The Chains. “So I get to feel what that challenge is like. It’s so rarely accomplished. It’s almost something you don’t even want to talk about because what it takes to stacking up mundane, day after day. And it takes stacking up all the seemingly unimportant things, details, that Coach (Doug) Pederson talks about — doing the little things right. It sounds boring and it sounds cliche, but boring, cliche, difficult, consistent things are the hardest things to do. And that’s why so few teams are able to get there.
‘Everybody’s telling you how great you are and you have to ignore that, because that’s how great you were’
“The hardest thing is, you get constant reminders throughout the summer. You’ve got the ring party. You’ve got people telling you how great you are. You get new opportunities that open up, whether they’re marketing things or the banner getting lowered that first night of the year. Everybody’s telling you how great you are and you have to ignore that, because that’s how great you were. It’s not how great you are. It really doesn’t matter what we did last year.”
Long is able to handle the fact he doesn’t get to play as much as he did earlier in this career. However, he is always happy whenever he gets a chance to increase his snap count.
‘When it comes to the point where I’m playing a really abbreviated role, I don’t want to play anymore’
“Listen, as a competitor, I’m always like, if my coach says, ‘Hey, you’ve got to play 60 plays this week,’ I’m going to smile, because I like to play football,” Long said. “When it comes to the point where I’m playing a really abbreviated role, I don’t want to play anymore. Yeah, 50 percent of the plays was great. I felt great physically. I felt as good as I’ve felt in the last couple years, because of years with injuries and what not. But there were games where where (Brandon Graham) might get dinged or somebody got dinged and my snap count got up around 55 and I think I play my best ball when I get those opportunities because I can get in a rhythm.
“In St. Louis, when I came in the league back in the day — and teams are going away from this — I hate to sound old like the game’s changing, but D-linemen, we played a lot more plays. In 2009-2010, it wasn’t abnormal to get up in the 70s. I remember one game against Jacksonville, I played 83 plays. So that’s a big adjustment for your ego as a player and for your body as well, for getting into a rhythm as a rusher and those types of things. I think (defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz) does a great job of keeping everybody fresh, but I do get excited when I get an opportunity to carry a little bit more of the load.”
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