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Contrite Long apologizes for practice-rage incident

“It reflected poorly on the organization, the city, the offensive line room. ... Moving forward I intend to make amends.”

Wild Card Round - Philadelphia Eagles v Chicago Bears
Kyle Long (walking off the field after the Bears’ 16-15 loss to the Eagles in the wild-card game last season) said he is determined to make amends for a practice incident that led to him being suspended for the Giants preseason game last week. “Obviously, what I did was absolutely unacceptable,” he said.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Like so many of his teammates, Kyle Long is ready to hit somebody besides his teammates. But he knows that’s no excuse for losing his mind at practice last week.

A chagrined Long completely and resolutely accepted the blame for an ugly practice incident Thursday at Halas Hall in which, in an odd fit of rage, he pulled teammate Jalen Dalton’s helmet off, then swung and threw it at the undrafted rookie. Long was ejected from the practice and suspended for the Bears’ preseason game against the Giants last Saturday.

“Obviously, what I did was absolutely unacceptable,” Long said after practice. “As a human being, as a teammate, without question what I did was uncalled for and absolutely so far over the line that it was on me to handle that internally and speak to the people that I needed to speak to. I’ve done that.”

Long apologized to Nagy and to his teammates. But the three-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman knows he has got much more to do to regain the respect of many inside and outside of Halas Hall.

“This is a league about action. It’s not a league about talking about it,” Long said. “The thing I need to continue to do is go out on a day-to-day basis and try to prove to the men in this locker room that don’t know me very well and who have some questions about my character, and just try to move forward and prove to them the man I am on a daily basis.

“It was wrong what I did and in a lapse of judgment, that’s where I ended up — and it reflected poorly on the organization, the city, the offensive line room and that was never my intention. Moving forward I intend to make amends.”

Long noted that “I cost myself some personal equity” because of the incident. But he’s built up quite a bit of that in his seven seasons with the Bears. He is a seven-year starter who after two Pro Bowl seasons at guard in 2013 and 2014 moved to tackle in a new offense in 2015 and made the Pro Bowl again. He fought through a series of injuries that cost him 22 starts over the last three seasons. And he took a pay cut in the offseason to keep the offensive line intact.

The incident itself was “just football,” Long said. “We’re out here beating each other up. I was a little frustrated and it boiled over and it was really unfortunate.”

Long later threw up as he watched the rest of practice. ‘I think I ate too much,” he said.

Though it was a little bizarre as scuffles go in training camp, the Bears have moved on with no apparent lingering effects.

“We’re past it,” Nagy said. “Now it’s not about talking anymore. It’s about everybody showing what we can do. It’s showing by your actions, whether it’s being a good football player or being a good person.”

Long’s incident with Dalton had been the third consecutive practice in which the Bears had a scuffle. Long battled Akiem Hicks on the final day at Olivet Nazarene on Aug. 11. Receiver Javon Wims angrily threw several punches at cornerback Prince Amukamara’s helmet in the aftermath of a play in a drill two days later.

The Bears are looking forward to playing an unfamiliar opponent. But Long wasn’t going to lean on that excuse.

“Those are two separate conversations,” Long said. “What I was involved with was unacceptable regardless of who we practice against or who we play against. But I will say that there is some merit to the fact that we want to see other people. We love each other. We enjoy practicing against each other. But it will be nice to see some other people.”