The journey hasn’t been easy for New England Patriots defensive end Chris Long. The 31-year-old found himself on the end of several consecutive losing seasons with the St. Louis Rams. Long was typically the teams’ bright spot at the end of the season. He was a fan favorite in every aspect. Long spent eight long seasons with the Rams. But the team decided to relocate after the 2015 season, and management decided they didn’t want him along for the journey, releasing him in February of 2016. Long then signed with the Patriots, where they went 14-2, Long got his first taste of the playoffs, and now will be playing in the Super Bowl on February 5th.
There’s no doubt that Chris Long brought his A-game every Sunday. It didn’t matter who the Rams were playing, their record, who he lined up across, Long was going to bring the heat until the clock read all zeros. Long was even the Rams iron man for the awhile, not missing a game from the beginning of his rookie year in 2008, until week 2 of the 2014 season, when he broke his ankle in the third quarter of the season opener against the Minnesota Vikings forcing him to miss two months.
Long was the center piece of the Rams defense for multiple years. The former second overall pick recorded 41.5 sacks over a four season span from 2010-2013. During that 2013 campaign, Long even recorded the first and only touchdown of his career; a 45-yard fumble recovery against the Indianapolis Colts. But Long didn’t just contribute on the field.
Long was always in the St. Louis community, bettering the surrounding area for others. Long and former fellow defensive end William Hayes helped supply living complexes for the homeless, Long was always around when the Rams players delivered turkey’s during Thanksgiving to less fortunate families, and Long even started a charity to help get various communities in Africa clean drinking water. The name of that charity is called Waterboys (see Waterboys.org). But Long’s outreach extends so much further than this article can explain.
Long did a lot during his tenure in St. Louis. He was one of the most selfless players to ever come through St. Louis. The team went 39-88-1 (.304 winning percentage) during Long’s eight seasons in St. Louis. But you’d never hear Long complain about it. St. Louis appreciated Chris Long and we should all be thankful for what he did for this city. He is one of the utmost deserving individual players on either the Patriots or the Atlanta Falcons to win a Super Bowl.
A lot of football fans in St. Louis have some bitterness built up toward the Patriots, but accordingly so. But seeing a guy who was one of our own for nearly a decade, no matter the reasons for the hate, we should all put it aside. Chris is as deserving as it gets. Let’s root for Chris Long to raise the Lombardi Trophy in Houston on February 5th. Good luck, 95.