By: Alex Patt
The Chicago Bears confirmed that OL Kyle Long will be placed on season-ending IR due to a hip injury. Long (30) played in four of the Bears five games so far this season. This has been another tough chapter in Long’s career which has been riddled with injuries. Since 2016 the former pro bowl lineman has played double-digit games just once (10 in 2017) after missing just one game in the first three games of his career. In total 30 games played the past four seasons, which is slightly less than half. This will be the fourth-straight season Long is placed on IR.
Kyle Long has been around since 2013 and was named to the Pro Bowl in his rookie year, and again in 2014 and 2015. He was their most accomplished in-prime player going into the new Ryan Pace rebuild era with the likes of Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Devin Hester, Charles Tillman and Matt Forte gone or on their way out. It is hard to believe Long has played in Chicago under three coaches (Marc Trestman, John Fox, Matt Nagy).
Question now is, are we seeing the end of an era?
Long’s contract (a deal he took a pay cut to stay in Chicago) has a club option in 2020. If that option were to be picked up, it would be a $9.6 million cap hit next year. We know that the Bears are going to have some decisions to make after this season in terms of contracts and cap room and Pace is going to want to spend wisely. With the injuries to Long and the unfortunate decline in play when he is on the field, signs right now point to the option not being picked up.
It really is sad to look at a guy who had an incredible start to his career deal with so many injuries and have his career take a huge hit. Long always worked incredibly hard to stay on the field and it just cannot catch a break anymore. It also kind of stinks that his best years in the NFL were wasted on non-playoff Bears teams. His one-career playoff game and chance at a title ended last year in gut-wrenching fashion.
If this is indeed the end, we say goodbye to one of the most talented offensive lineman the Bears have had in a long time. Will he continue to play? Time will tell, hopefully if he does leave another team will give him a chance. Him playing in the NFL seems a bit more like a toss-up, but his days as a Bear are more likely over than not.