By Mark Gallagher
Chris Long had two great years in Philly, helping the Eagles win Super Bowl 52 as an edge-rusher who make Tom Brady cringe.
But then he retired after the 2018 season.
“I felt like I was still playing well and I had some options, but I only wanted to play one place at that juncture,” Long told USA TODAY.
“That was Philly. I said basically that I am going to retire because I would hate to go play somewhere random and then Philly had an injury, because they kind of told me the writing was on the wall.
“They were going with more of a youth movement. I wasn’t part of their plan the same way I had been the past few years, but they’d love to have me back. It seemed like I was going to be more of a player-coach, a reserve’s reserve or somebody who took a lot less snaps.”
Long played in all of the Eagles’ 37 games in his two seasons, though he started just one of them.
Including the playoffs, Long accounted for 58 total tackles, 12 sacks, and six forced fumbles.
The Eagles, as they told Long they would, have invested in younger players at the position. The team has relied upon Derek Barnett, 23 and a 2017 first-round draft pick, as its starting right defensive end. And while veterans Brandon Graham (31) and Vinny Curry (31) remain part of the pass rush, they have given more snaps to backup end Josh Sweat, 22.
“I can still play, so for me with everything I have going on off the field, I joked with somebody that if I was 38 and a contender called me in the right situation, I’d consider it,” Long said. “I’d get off the couch if the perfect situation arose, but I’m so entrenched in what I’m doing right now with building a media company, doing this podcast stuff, I’ve made the transition. It’s really hard to get out of that. I can’t guarantee you that I would come back.”