Kyle Long may have rejected a report he was headed to the New York Jets in 2020, but the former Chicago Bears Pro Bowl guard doesn't appear ready to call it a career just yet. Long revealed on Twitter the details of his "retirement" from the NFL in January, telling fans he didn't actually retire -- but was fired.
Long announced his decision to "step away" from the game in January, which was a surprise to Bears fans and the Chicago area as the 31-year old right guard decided to walk away with a year left on his deal.
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 over the past four seasons, failing to play half a season in three of those years. The injuries Long suffered throughout the past four seasons include a torn labrum and strained triceps, as well as foot, ankle and shoulder pain recurring from the labrum injury suffered in 2016.
He agreed to take a pay cut last season in a revised deal, but the Bears made clear their intentions to move on from him after putting him on injured reserve in Week 5 of the season. After playing every snap in Week 4, Long was done for the season with a hip injury. He was originally scheduled to make $9.6 million in 2020.
Long told another fan the decision to move on from him was "at halftime of the Raiders game," which was the last game he played before going on injured reserve.
If Long gets the go-ahead to come back, it won't be for the Bears. Long said if he were to return to the franchise, "it would need to be under a new staff."
"I have supported this staff and the roster in the media since being released," Long wrote. "Believe in the team and the coaches. But that doesn't mean I would want to play for them."
If Long were to return to the NFL, he would be an unrestricted free agent, but the odds appear slim based on his Twitter comments.
"I still cheer for the Bears," Long said. "But someone asked if I would return to Chicago: this staff would never take me."