Eagles Notebook: Bears' Long credits Kelly for his maturity
Though their time at Oregon was short, Kyle Long says Chip Kelly helped him 'find my way.'
KYLE LONG and Chip Kelly weren't together very long, one season at Oregon in which Long only started four games.
But Kelly was "very, very important in helping me find my way down the right path, as a football coach and as a man," Kyle told Philadelphia-area reporters during a conference call yesterday. "[Kelly is] somebody who puts great emphasis on who you are as a man. Obviously, it's a good thing if you can block an inside zone to the right, on a read option, but it's [important that] you're doing the right kinds of things off the field, as well."
Long, a right guard drafted 20th overall in the first round by the Bears last spring, didn't begin his college career doing those right things off the field. He went to Florida State as a lefthanded pitcher after being drafted by the White Sox in the 23rd round. But in January of his freshman year, he was arrested on a DUI charge, dropped out of school and entered rehab for substance abuse. Two years later, after switching to football at Saddleback College, and then switching from defensive end to offensive line, the son of Howie Long and brother of Chris transferred to Oregon, where he received only 1 year of eligibility.
"He's as athletic as anybody," Kelly said yesterday, when asked about Long, who will visit the Eagles Sunday evening. "He legitimately runs in the high 4.8s, 4.9s. He's nasty. He's physical. He's a fun guy to watch on film, because he loves playing football. I loved coaching him. He's awesome. I just hope he doesn't play well this week."
The Eagles and the Bears are 8-6 teams with first-year, offensive-minded coaches, and defenses that aren't so good. Long said there are similarities between Kelly and Marc Trestman.
"The biggest difference right now is, we huddle, and there's no music in practice. Besides that, I feel like there's a lot of similarities in the things that they preach, the kind of team they want to have and the kind of team they're developing . . . I've been very blessed to have two very bright offensive coaches.
"Coach Kelly is like an uncle to me; he almost seems like one of my relatives."
Long said he went to Oregon "because coach Kelly was one of the few people in the game of football less concerned with my last name, my father, my older brother . . . He said, if you want to do it, we're gonna bring you in, you're not going to be guaranteed a starting spot, you're not going to be guaranteed anything because of your last name. My ears perked up. I love to hear that. I like to earn things on my own. I feel like coach Kelly made me earn everything I got there. It's made me a better man and a better competitor."
Long said James Harris, Kelly's chief of staff with the Eagles, was the guy at Oregon who changed players' thinking on nutrition and training.
"That's something I took with me here, something they preach here, as well," he said.
Asked to describe a Chip Kelly player, Long said that would be "somebody that's willing to put it on the line for the guy to the right or the left of him."
Safety Patrick Chung finally spoke to reporters yesterday for the first time since Sunday's 48-30 loss in Minnesota, which was not Chung's finest hour.
"They had a perfect route, perfect throw" on the 57-yard Greg Jennings touchdown catch past Chung that set the tone for the day, he said. "You can't do anything about it, man. If you have a good quarterback throwing to a great receiver, you throw a ball like that, there's nothing you can do about it. There's a lot of things we can do better. It's just one of those calls that beat the coverage."
Chung said he doesn't know what his role will be this week, with rookie Earl Wolff returning from a knee hyperextension.
Chung agreed that the Bears' receivers will really test the Eagles' secondary.
"They're big, they're strong, they can jump, they can catch, they've got strong hands, they can break tackles," Chung said.