FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — When a fight broke out Monday, Kyle Long joked, his head was on swivel.
“I was making sure Chris wasn’t coming to drop-kick me,” he said.
Three seasons after Chris pulled Kyle away from a fight in their first meeting, the Longs reunited Monday in the first of three joint practices between the Bears and Chris’ new team, the Patriots. The No. 2 selection of the 2008 draft was shelved when the Bears played in St. Louis last year; the defensive endstarted only 11 games the past two seasons due to injury.
Though that meeting was the only time the two met on the field before Monday, the Bears guard had a scouting report on his brother’s pass moves in practice.
“He’s gonna mess with my head, that’s what he’s going to do,” Kyle said. “He’s really athletic; he moves laterally well, he’s good with his hands. As a guy who’s played on the outside, you know that he’s got some shake to him.
“What I really like to see with him coming off some stuff the last few years: he looks strong, he feels strong and he’s a competitor. It’s fun to be out here with him.”
Chris said, perhaps going against eons of sibling rivalry, he didn’t like hitting his brother.
Kyle was as big as Chris, who is four years older,by age 16, after all. Hetowered over Chrisby18.
“He looks like a big tree stump,” Chris said.
Two of Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long’s three sons, Chris and Kyle’s relationship defies stereotypes. They don’t practice football moves when they’re together in the offseason, and don’t really talk about the sport at all.
When Kyle needed guidance as a younger player, he asked his dad outright. He watched Chris’ mature example, but said he wouldn’t pick his brain in a “call and response” way.
“I don’t want Chris to know there’s any weakness in there,” Kyle said, laughing. “But he’s been great. He’s a great older brother and he’s a heckuva football player, and the Pats are lucky to have him.”
Because of Chris’ age, they didn’t face each other growing up, short of backyard baseball and Wiffle ball games. When Kyle rumbled with a brother as a kid, it was Howie Jr., who is one year his junior.
“It’s definitely new when we practice against each other and play against each other,” Chris said.
Kyle said he wished he had more time to explore where his father grew up — in Charlestown, the oldest neighborhood in Boston, about 30 miles north ofPatriot Place.
Instead, he watched the next generation of their family after practice, mingling with their mom Diane, Chris’ wife Megan and their 5-month old son Waylon on the field.
The baby didn’t wear his dad’s jersey— or his uncle’s.
“He was definitely neutral,” Kyle said. “He had a blue hat on, which is also neutral. He knows how to play the game already.”