Kyle Long started for the Bears today in their season-opening loss to the Texans, but the cornerstone guard will be playing through pain this season. The fourth-year starter suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports.
Schefter reports the tear occurred last month, so the Bears gave the three-time Pro Bowler a four-year extension worth $40MM after the diagnosis surfaced. Long was able to practice this past week in a limited capacity for the first time since the injury.
The move back to guard after spending the 2015 season at right tackle will serve Long better overall, since that is the position at which he’s performed better. But the relocation back inside might affect him more this season due to the strength requirements of the guard spot. Nevertheless, the Bears have bet on Long to be their anchor up front for the decade’s remainder. He’s missed just one game in his four-year career, playing all 16 in both 2013 and ’15.
Chicago now houses one of the league’s premier guard tandems after its 11th-hour acquisition of Josh Sitton, who is under contract through 2018 after the Packers release enabled a signing with their chief rivals.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.