After Eagles defensive end Chris Long got a Twitter shout-out Friday morning from former President Barack Obama for donating his entire 2017 salary to charity, I asked him how it ranked with, say, his strip sacks of Jared Goff or Derek Carr.
"It's different,'' he said with a smile. "It's cool. It's an honor that that would fly across one of our former presidents' radar.
"That's the whole point of trying to do good things in the community: Spreading positivity. It's an honor to be mentioned.''
In September, after his hometown of Charlottesville, Va., drew unwanted national attention when white surpremacists and neo-Nazis held a march there that turned violent, Long and his wife, Megan, announced that he would donate his first six game checks to fund a pair of scholarships to his alma mater, St. Anne's-Belfield School, for two members of the Boys and Girls Club of Central Virginia.
A month later, Chris and Megan donated the rest of his $1 million salary this season to launch Pledge 10 for Tomorrow, a campaign to promote educational equity and opportunity for underserved youths in the three NFL cities he's played in – Philadelphia, Boston and St. Louis.
"I've been lucky,'' Long said Friday after a frigid two-hour practice at Lincoln Financial Field. "I've made a lot of money playing a game and have been humbled by the opportunity and just being able to continue playing football for a living.
"While it's not an earth-shattering amount of money, it's more about, for me, doing what I love for something that's important to me, than it is the actual (donation) number. And then the fans getting behind it and matching it essentially.
"It kind of proves the point, which is that (if) we all work together, there's a lot we can agree on and try to improve.''
Long's decision to donate his entire 2017 salary to charity was one of three examples of selflessness and caring that Obama praised on Twitter. He also mentioned Jahkil Jackson, a 10-year-old fifth-grader from Chicago who handed out "blessing bags'' filled with socks, toiletries and food to the homeless, and a couple who postponed their wedding so they could help Hurricane Harvey victims in Texas.
"As we count down the new year, we get to reflect and prepare for what's ahead,'' Obama tweeted. "For all the bad news that seemed to dominate our collective consciousness, there are countless stories from this year that remind us what's best about America.''
Long was flattered to get the shout-out from Obama.
"He's somebody I have a lot of respect for,'' Long said. "Just the class that he carried himself with being the face of our nation. You don't have to agree with every single thing politically all the time. And that's kind of what we've gotten into doing as a country. Politicizing everything.
"But I have a great deal of respect for him as a president and a man and a family man. To see him pick that up on his radar is pretty cool for me.''