Kyle Long didn’t always make himself sound like a Pro Bowl right tackle.
He was the first to admit when he struggled at his new position. He and the Bears knew, though, that he was being asked to do something difficult last season — learn right tackle despite never having played there before.
Thursday, Long received what he considered a reward: his third-straight trip to the all-star game, played Jan. 31. Long was placed on the team — as a tackle — when the Eagles’ Jason Peters withdrew because of injury.
“I think I made a sacrifice, in my career, and I think this was in a roundabout way the reward for it,” he said. “Unfortunately, I dealt with a lot of growing pains. As has been publicized, I’ve owned it and been part of the learning process and tried to be positive every day.”
Long becomes the first Bears player to reach the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons since Brian Urlacher. Others to accomplish that include Gale Sayers, Dick Butkus, Mike Ditka, Rick Casares and Harlon Hill.
His inclusion prevents the Bears from their first Pro Bowl shutout since 1999.
Long was playing a “Grand Theft Auto” video game Thursday when coach John Fox left a message.
“When a coach calls you like during the offseason you don’t know what’s going to be the case,” he said. “I called him and he congratulated me on being a Pro Bowler.”
He knows there’s work to do be done. He’ll train as a tackle in Scottsdale, Ariz., this offseason.
“I think the big word for me this year is ‘consistency,” said the former guard.
Long liked the continuity put forth by Bears GM Ryan Pace this week when he promoted quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains to replace offensive coordinator Adam Gase.
“I couldn’t have been happier that that was the direction that Ryan decided to go in, being that he works so well with (quarterback) Jay (Cutler),” Long said. “He’s with him every day, all day.
“I couldn’t see Jay without him and I couldn’t see this offense without him because of his ability to hold guys accountable. I say that over and over again about this coaching staff. It could have been said with Gase.
“But this guy will actually, he’ll seek out a little bit of face-to-face with ya just to be able to get the point across. That’s what you need sometimes.”
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