2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Bears take Oregon's Long with 20th pick

By ANDREW SELIGMAN - AP Sports Writer
    2013-04-25 23:46

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) - Kyle Long followed his bloodlines to the NFL. He won't be lining up on the same side of the line as his famous family members, though.

The Chicago Bears selected Long with the 20th pick in the draft Thursday night, adding the guard from Oregon to a line that has ranked among the NFL's worst in recent years.

There were a number of ways the Bears could have gone, given their needs for depth and youth on both sides of the ball. They were also interested in moving down and acquiring more picks since they had just five.

Some mock drafts had the Bears going with linebackers Alec Ogletree of Georgia and Notre Dame's Manti Te'o, along with Fighting Irish tight end Tyler Eifert. All three were on the board, but Chicago decided to draft a guard in the first round for the first time since 1960 in Long, the son of former Raiders star Howie Long and brother of St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long.

``Very clear statement that we wanted this player,'' general manager Phil Emery said. ``The draft's not over, so we'll have other opportunities at those other positions. This is the player we wanted.''

With Long in the mix along with newcomers Jermon Bushrod at left tackle and guard Matt Slauson, the offensive line will have a different look after allowing 44 sacks and 87 quarterback hits last season.

Kyle Long becomes the latest member of his family to reach the NFL even though his college football experience was limited.

A rifle-armed pitcher at St. Anne's-Belfield high school in Ivy, Va., he was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 23rd round in 2008 but wound up going to Florida State on a baseball scholarship. Academic issues forced him to leave FSU, and he also wound up spending a night in jail because of a DUI in January 2009.

Long returned home, straightened himself out and enrolled at Saddleback Community College in Mission Viejo, Calif., in 2010 and wound up making the switch from pitcher to defensive end. He moved to the offensive line the following year with the Gauchos, and emerged as a key piece in Chip Kelley's breakneck offense in his lone season with Oregon in 2012 even though he made only five starts and 11 appearances.

In the five games he started at left guard, the 6-foot-6, 313-pound Long recorded six touchdown-resulting blocks and 36 knockdowns. And the Ducks led the Pac-12 in total offense and scoring.

``I feel like I can get a lot better with coaching, with the right guys around me,'' Long said. ``I feel like have that opportunity in Chicago.''

As for his past?

``I was a young kid and I was dealing with some stuff off the field that I had to work through,'' he said. ``I'm past it now. I'm four years, 4 1/2 years removed from those issues. I really feel like my best ball is ahead of me.''

Emery said he thinks Long can play both guard and tackle spots. He believes the issues he had in the past are just that - in the past - and sees him emerging as a leader.

``All of us have fallen in life at one point or another,'' Emery said. ``The important thing is do we get up and do we move forward? Do we try to prepare ourselves better. Not only get ourselves better, but get those around us better, and that's what this man has done. He was a team leader at Oregon. He was there one fall.''

Emery also said he might be the best athlete in the family, although Kyle Long dismissed that.

Now, Long joins a team that won 10 games but made some big changes after missing the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons. They fired coach Lovie Smith and replaced him with the offensive-minded Marc Trestman, and that wasn't the only big change.

Brian Urlacher, the heart and soul of the defense, is gone after his contract expired and they couldn't come to an agreement. Besides parting with the eight-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker, the Bears addressed some of their most immediate needs before the draft by signing Bushrod and Martellus Bennett. That gave them the top-tier left tackle and play-making tight end they craved, and it gave Emery some flexibility in the draft.

They lured Bushrod from New Orleans with a five-year deal, adding a Pro Bowl left tackle to a beleaguered offensive line and finally giving Jay Cutler the protection he needs on his blind side. They added a playmaker at tight end in Bennett and signed Slauson, the former New York Jets guard.

They'll have two new starting linebackers alongside perennial Pro Bowl pick Lance Briggs with D.J. Williams replacing Urlacher in the middle and James Anderson taking over for the departed Nick Roach on the strong side.

All that comes after they collapsed for the second straight year following a promising start. But for all their moves, there were still some major question marks hovering over the team as the draft approached - among them the offensive line, age on defense, the fact that many of the newcomers are on one-year deals and the uncertainty surrounding Cutler's future.

He's entering the final year of his contract, meaning the Bears could have a tough decision to make, particularly if he has a run-of-the-mill season. Complicating matters is the Bears have no heir apparent in place.

They might also want to bring in a receiver who can stretch the field and take some of the pressure off Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.

But they again addressed a big issue in the first round, even if picking Long was a bit of a surprise.

``What matters is our team, how we see him fitting for us and do we have the type of dynamic athlete and leader that we need that can help us win championships,'' Emery said. ``And that's this guy.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Adrian PetersonApr 16 02:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has been informed that he will be reinstated from the commissioner exempt list starting Friday, April 17.

Sammy WatkinsApr 15 11:33p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins (hip) is able to work out in some capacity during the team's offseason program, although head coach Rex Ryan indicated Wednesday, April 15, that [ More ]

Kai ForbathApr 15 10:53p

Washington Redskins restricted free-agent PK Kai Forbath posted on social media Wednesday, April 15, that he has re-signed with the team. The club has not yet confirmed the signing.

George JohnsonApr 15 08:33a

Detroit Lions DE George Johnson was acquired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, April 15. Tampa signed Johnson to an offer sheet that was disputed by Detroit, but the [ More ]

Philip RiversApr 15 12:13a

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers is under contract for one more season, and he has expressed a desire to play out his deal. However, the Chargers might be [ More ]

Josh GordyApr 14 06:03p

Free-agent CB Josh Gordy (Colts) signed a veteran minimum deal with the New York Giants Tuesday, April 14, according to a source.

Ricardo LocketteApr 14 05:23p

Seattle Seahawks WR Ricardo Lockette signed his exclusive-rights tender Tuesday, April 14.

Ike TaylorApr 14 09:32a

Free-agent CB Ike Taylor (Steelers) announced his retirement Tuesday, April 14.

Wade SmithApr 14 02:12a

Free-agent OG Wade Smith (Eagles) announced his retirement after 12 years in the National Football League.

Michael CrabtreeApr 14 01:13a

The Oakland Raiders are giving free-agent WR Michael Crabtree (49ers) a one-year, $3 million deal with another $2 million in incentives, a source said Monday, April 13.

Eben BrittonApr 14 01:03a

Free-agent OT Eben Britton (Bears) has been suspended four games by the NFL for an unspecified violation.

Matt ForteApr 13 08:02p

Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte was not present for the start of the offseason workouts Monday, April 13, according to sources. Forte is entering the final year of his [ More ]

Cody LatimerApr 13 08:02p

Denver Broncos WR Cody Latimer, who is expected to line up across from WR Demaryius Thomas in 2015, has been praised by WR Emmanuel Sanders, who figures to move [ More ]

Joe MaysApr 13 04:32p

Free-agent LB Joe Mays (Chiefs) signed an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Monday, April 13.

Zackary BowmanApr 13 02:22p

Free-agent CB Zack Bowman (Giants) signed an undisclosed deal with the Miami Dolphins Monday, April 13.

Sean RichardsonApr 13 02:02p

Green Bay Packers restricted free-agent SS Sean Richardson will remain with the Packers after the team decided to match the one-year, $2.55 million offer he signed with the Oakland Raiders, according to a source.

Sean RichardsonApr 12 10:02a

Green Bay Packers restricted free-agent SS Sean Richardson signed an offer sheet with the Oakland Raiders, and the Packers have until Monday, April 13, to inform him if they [ More ]

Jason CampbellApr 12 07:02a

Free-agent QB Jason Campbell (Bengals) is considering retirement, according to sources close to the team. Campbell has rejected multiple opportunities to sign a contract for 2015, including offers from [ More ]

James CaseyApr 11 01:02p

Free-agent TE James Casey (Eagles) agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Denver Broncos Saturday, April 11. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Johnny ManzielApr 11 12:22p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel has been released from his rehab facility.

Victor ButlerApr 10 03:22p

New York Giants LB Victor Butler has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season for violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancing drugs.

Anthony SpencerApr 10 01:12p

Free-agent DE Anthony Spencer (Cowboys) signed a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints Friday, April 10. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Charles TillmanApr 9 04:02p

Free-agent CB Charles Tillman (Bears) signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers Thursday, April 9. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Rob HouslerApr 9 12:42p

Free-agent TE Rob Housler (Cardinals) has agreed to terms with the Cleveland Browns on a one-year deal, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Le'Veon BellApr 9 09:52a

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell was suspended three games and fined an additional game check after violating the league's substance abuse policy, according to league sources. He has appealed.

Stevan RidleyApr 8 07:53p

New York Jets RB Stevan Ridley signed a one-year deal with the team.

Amobi OkoyeApr 8 04:53p

Dallas Cowboys DT Amobi Okoye was released Wednesday, April 8.

Emmanuel LamurApr 8 03:43p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Emmanuel Lamur officially re-signed Wednesday, April 8, to a one-year, $2.356 million deal.

Adrian PetersonApr 8 01:33p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is 'highly unlikely' to face more suspension from the league when he's finally off the Commissioner's Exempt List, according to a source. Peterson's next [ More ]

George JohnsonApr 7 10:23p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed restricted free-agent DE George Johnson (Lions) to a three-year offer sheet Tuesday, April 7. Financial terms are undisclosed. The Lions have five days to match the offer.

Le'Veon BellApr 7 05:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell is expected to be suspended for the first two games of next season, according to sources. Bell is being suspended following an arrest last [ More ]

Erin HendersonApr 7 05:13p

Free-agent LB Erin Henderson (Vikings) agreed to terms on an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Tuesday, April 7, according to a source. Henderson didn't play last year [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group