Guard Kyle Long to return to practice after being punished for fight

“I know Kyle is extremely remorseful,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said Sunday. “And now he has got to prove it. “

SHARE Guard Kyle Long to return to practice after being punished for fight

Bears guard Kyle Long walks off the field following Thursday’s preseason game against the Panthers.

Brian O’Mahoney/For the Sun-Times

Having apologized to his teammates and served his suspension by staying home from the Bears’ preseason road game Friday against the Giants, guard Kyle Long will return to practice Tuesday.

‘‘I know Kyle is extremely remorseful,’’ coach Matt Nagy said Sunday. ‘‘And now he has got to prove it.’’

Long was kicked out of the Bears’ scrimmage Wednesday after he took rookie defensive lineman Jalen Dalton’s helmet and attempted to beat him with it, swinging it with his left hand into a group of teammates before throwing it across the field. Long watched the rest of the scrimmage from the sideline.

Long apologized to his teammates but was left off the Bears’ charter Thursday. Nagy called the apology an important first step.

‘‘But you only want that to happen if it’s authentic and organic,’’ he said. ‘‘If it’s scripted and you have an apology that’s scripted, it doesn’t mean anything. That’s not what he’s about, though.’’

Nagy said Long, a three-time Pro Bowl player who took a pay cut when his contract was restructured in late February, had been ‘‘awesome’’ during the Bears’ offseason program and training camp. Long has said he feels as healthy as he has in years.

‘‘So you hate to see one day ruin all that, but he understands it, too,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘The one thing [about] the way we work around here is we’re very honest, we’re very open. We don’t worry about hurting feelings; we’re real. So those conversations that we have that are private can get to a point to where they need to start understanding what our stance is.’’

Nagy said he slept on his decision to suspend Long and, after talking with general manager Ryan Pace, made the call Thursday. It marked the most high-profile public disciplinary action of Nagy’s tenure with the Bears.

When considering punishment, Nagy said he typically seeks advice from mentors and members of his coaching staff.

‘‘But in the end, I think that dealing with the person specifically like I did and like we did is how you do it,’’ he said. ‘‘You explain going forward the process. . . . I think all of them are a little bit different. You can’t treat every one the same, every incident the same. It’s kind of a feeling.’’

Long, of course, knows better. Entering his seventh season with the Bears, he’s the second-longest-tenured player on the roster — behind defensive back Sherrick McManis — and one of nine players 30 or older. He’s a son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long and a brother of Chris Long, a Super Bowl champion and the reigning Walter Payton Man of the Year.

Affable off the field, Long can have a short fuse on it. As a rookie, he tried to kick at a Rams player during a game and had to be pulled away by Chris, who ran in from the sideline, among others.

‘‘Let’s clarify this: Everybody has a temper,’’ said defensive end Akiem Hicks, who scuffled with Long during practice Aug. 11. ‘‘Everybody gets upset. If somebody spills their coffee, you’re gonna get upset.

‘‘I would say this: I’ve gone up against Kyle since 2013, when I was back in [New Orleans], and he’s a fiery guy, man. He gets after it. He is special. He’s a special talent as an offensive guard.

‘‘It’s great to have him back healthy, and we look forward to him playing some really good snaps for us this year.’’

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