Kyle Long's warning to Eagles: Be in shape

Kyle Long's warning to Eagles: Be in shape

February 22, 2013, 8:00 pm
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INDIANAPOLIS – Kyle Long has a warning for anybody playing football in a Philadelphia Eagles uniform this year.
 
Hit the bike machine. Hit the treadmill. Hit the elliptical.
 
Because you better be in shape.
 
“You just need to be able to run past the point of exhaustion,” said Long, who played for Chip Kelly at Oregon. “You need to be in good cardio shape. A big emphasis on that offense’s tempo. That became very evident the first day I showed up at fall camp, I thought I was going to die.”

Long, projected as a second-round offensive tackle in this year’s draft, met with the media at the NFL Scouting Combine and said he and his teammates eventually got into good enough shape to run Kelly’s superhumanly-paced offense effectively.

But it took a while.
 
“You get used to the tempo,” he said. “You notice when the guy across from you tongue’s dragging. You’re ready to go and next man up.”
 
Long, son of Hall of Famer Howie Long, brother of Rams defensive end Chris Long, started out at Florida State as a baseball player – his fastball was recorded at 96 miles per hour and he was drafted by the White Sox. But he left soon after a DUI arrest four years ago.
 
He resurfaced at Saddleback Community College in Mission Viejo, Calif., where he revived his football career as a defensive lineman and earned a scholarship at Oregon, where Kelly moved him to offense.
 
Long spent one year at Oregon, applied for a fifth of eligibility, was denied by the NCAA, and is now projected as anywhere from the fifth- to seventh-best offensive tackle available in this year’s draft.

And he’s got plenty of advice for the 2013 Eagles.
 
“Come with the attitude you want to outwork everybody,” he said. “You can’t hold a guy down that’s going to outwork the world. There are dozens of guys that are more talent, bigger, stronger and faster than you, but if you come in with the intent of working harder, things usually work out for those guys.
 
“Come ready to work. I’m sure it’s like every other job they’ve been a part of. He’s a great coach, a player’s coach. He has a lot of consistency in his weeks and his game plan. I’d be happy to play for him and I’m sure the guys there will be happy to play for him.”
 
Could Long end up reunited with Kelly?
 
It’s not out of the question that the Eagles would take a tackle in the second round, and Kelly certainly knows Long as well as anybody.
 
“Everybody has the fear of the unknown, especially when it comes to who is my coach going to be, who am I going to be playing with?” Long said. “I had the opportunity of playing for Coach Kelly last year so I know what I’d be getting out of him as a coach. That’s one team I’ve sort of done my scouting on a little bit.”
 
Long was asked what’s unusual about Kelly’s offense, what’s complicated about it, what’s different about it, and his answer was surprising.
 
“Mostly just terminology,” he said. “The concepts are simple. Football is a pretty simple game once you get past the terminology, but you need to be able to speak the same language, know your assignment and showcase your skills. Once you know what you’re doing, the rest takes care of itself.
 
“Coach Kelly’s offense looks complex because of the speed and tempo. To say it’s simple would be disrespectful, but it wasn’t complex. I didn’t have spring ball and picked it up pretty quickly.”
 
The biggest question Long will probably hear during the Combine isn’t about his size or talent or upside. It’s about his past.
 
Long was arrested on Jan. 4, 2009, in Charlottesville, Va., and charged with driving the wrong way down a one-way street, as he attempted to move his car out of a no-parking area.
 
After he failed a Breathalyzer – his 0.10 blood-alcohol was just above the legal 0.08 – he was charged with DUI.
 
He withdrew from the University of Florida four days later. He hasn’t been in trouble since.
 
“I’ve grown a lot as an individual,” said Long, whose father Howie played at Villanova and made eight Pro Bowl teams with the Raiders. “I was definitely immature. I was not independent.
 
“I feel I’ve grown up as a man the last few years. I’ve taken responsibility for some of the things I’ve done. It was the worst thing and the best thing I’ve done. I’ve been through hardship and fought my way back. I’m standing here at this podium today as someone who’s at the NFL Combine. I’m proud of the progress I’ve made and don’t plan on stopping making progress anytime soon.
 
“We all face our own personal challenges. I struggled with some stuff off the field I feel not a lot of people had to deal with. I had to pick myself up and look myself in the mirror and decide I was going to change for the better. There was a lot of stuff I struggled with. I’m past that and I’m stronger because of it today.”
 
Instead of looking back at his DUI as a low point in his life, Long now looks at it as a high point.
 
Because it’s when he began the process of turning his life around.
 
“It was a tipping point for me,” he said. “There was stuff I needed to work on personally. I took a self-inventory and was able to start the process of recovery. I still have a lot to work on, but I’m happy where I am today.”