Kyle Long was one of the significant upgrades on the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive line this offseason, as he was expected to compete for one of the starting spots on the revamped unit. Now, Long and the Chiefs are just hoping the former Pro Bowl guard is ready for Week 1.
Long suffered a lower leg injury at Chiefs minicamp this week, per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. Long underwent tests on the injury as the Chiefs hope he can be ready for the start of the regular season -- putting his Week 1 status in doubt.
The Chiefs offensive lineman addressed the situation on Twitter, but didn't go into detail on the extent of the injury -- nor if he'll continue playing football after this latest setback.
"I did everything I could to prepare to get back for football. Zero regrets," Long wrote on Twitter. "I've been getting better every day and having so much fun with my new team. Focusing on controlling the things I can control. Yesterday was not one of those things! Thanks for the well wishes."
A 2013 first-round pick, Long was one of the best guards in the NFL during his seven seasons with the Bears. A three-time Pro Bowler from 2013 to 2015 (making the Pro Bowl at guard and tackle), injuries affected Long from recapturing the dominance early in his career.
Long played in just 29 games from 2016 to 2019, failing to play half a season in three of those years. The injuries Long suffered throughout those four seasons included a torn labrum and strained triceps, as well as foot, ankle and shoulder pain recurring from the labrum injury suffered in 2016. Long stepped away from the game in January of 2020, but returned when he signed with the Chiefs in March.
Long was expected to compete with Laurent Duvernay-Tardif for the right guard spot and Mike Remmers and Lucas Niang at right tackle. Duvernay-Tardif sat out the 2020 season due to COVID-19, but is expected to start at right guard again. The right tackle spot is open, as the Chiefs like Niang -- a 2020 third-round pick who also sat out last season due to COVID-19.
If Long returns by Week 1, he'll provide valuable depth on an improved Chiefs offensive line. Kansas City will need him in case any injuries occur to one of its starters.