Chris Long reflects on his one season in New England following retiring over weekend

Ryan Hannable
May 20, 2019 - 10:27 am

Over the weekend, 11-year NFL veteran Chris Long announced his retirement.

Although the defensive end is mostly known for his time with the Rams from 2008-15, he spent 2016 with the Patriots and the last two seasons with the Eagles. He won Super Bowl LI with the Patriots and Super Bowl LII with the Eagles.

Speaking to NBC Sports' Peter King, Long reflected on his career, including his time with the Patriots playing for Bill Belichick and with Tom Brady.

“In New England, I learned so much about football. I always thought I was a smart player, even though I never thought about anything but the six inches in front of my face," he said. "In New England, I was forced to learn so many schematic concepts. In my career playing football, nobody asked me to do as much as Bill Belichick did. I might be 3-technique, or a linebacker, or a linebacker dropping into coverage more than ever, or playing inside more than ever. I’ll always remember how much I learned watching Bill in practice. He can coach any position as good as any position coach in league. He can walk around the field and stop drills and coach each position—at the highest level. And the quality of the dudes. Solid men. The right kind of people.

“Tom Brady blew me away. Who’s the most famous athlete of our generation: Tom Brady? LeBron? Messi? Ronaldo? Serena Williams? Maybe I haven’t been around enough to know how the biggest stars really act. But Brady is a normal guy. When I got there, here comes Tom. ‘Hey Chris, I’m Tom, nice to meet you.’ Well, yeah, I know you’re Tom. A lot of people want to hate him for all the success, and I understand how you can dislike the Patriots, but I cannot understand how you can dislike Tom.

“That Super Bowl against Atlanta … when we were way behind, I’m thinking, ‘I waited my whole life to be here, and this is a nightmare. This is the worst nightmare I have ever had.’ If we lost that night, I very possibly would have retired a bitter man. But winning it breathed life into me."

Long is one of the most respected players in the league, which was shown by how many current players showed their appreciation for what he did whether they played with him or not.

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