“Cheers. Been a hell of a journey. Eleven years and I can honestly say I put my soul into every minute of it. Highs and lows. I’ve seen them both and I appreciate the perspective. Gratitude and love to those who lifted me up,” he wrote. Long is the second significant retirement today, after offensive lineman Travis Swanson decided to hang up his cleats earlier Saturday.
Soon after Long’s announcement, the Eagles released a statement of their own on Twitter, congratulating Long on his career. The second overall pick back in 2008, Long had a very solid career. His contributions off the field might end up surpassing anything he accomplished on it, as Long won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award this past season, and donated his entire 2017 salary to educational charities.
A two-time Super Bowl winner, Long won back to back championships with the Patriots in 2016 and Eagles in 2017. Long spent the first eight years of his career with the Rams, before signing with New England as a free agent. He never did make a Pro Bowl, but he had several Pro Bowl caliber seasons.
In 2011 he had 13 sacks, and he followed it up with 11.5 the next year. In 13 games for the Eagles this past season, all starts, he had 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. The son of Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long and brother of Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long, he’ll finish his career with 70 sacks and 14 forced fumbles. After losing Long to retirement and trading away Michael Bennett to the Patriots, the Eagles’ pass-rushing group will be a little thin next season.
The Virginia product has been flirting with retirement for a while now, and at the beginning of this month the Eagles agreed to push back a roster bonus date so he could have more time to decide. All of us at PFR wish Long and his family the best as he transitions into a new chapter.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.