Kyle Long is back at the position he loves — and not going anywhere soon.
“They will have to literally fight me to move me from right guard,” he told the Sun-Times on Friday night, after participating in a downtown event for Brandon Marshall’s Project 375. “I don’t think John Fox wants to do that.”
The Bears entered the offseason having declared Long the starting right tackle — and then added one.
Long, though, actually recommended the Cardinals’ Bobby Massie to the front office, who signed him to a three-year deal. The two train together at LeCharles Bentley’s O-line Performance in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Long’s eyes lit up when describing the 6-6, 316 pounder’s mental and physical prowess. Working side-by-side this offseason, the two have already gained a chemistry that would have taken weeks worth of practice to achieve.
“You grind together, you shine together,” he said. “And Bobby Massie is one of those guys that pushes me.
“When I’ve got my hands on my knees after a rep, he’s like, ‘Cmon Kyle, get up.’ And I’m like, ‘O.K.’”
Some wondered whether Long could be considered for left tackle when the Bears signed two interior linemen — guard Ted Larsen and center/guard Manny Ramirez — last month.
That’s not the case; rather, Long said, the two provide the line with an improved depth. That same rationale could motivate the Bears to draft a lineman at the end of the month, too.
Larsen, who started seven times at right guard last year and three times at left guard, trains with Long in Scottsdale—as does Bears tackle Nick Becton and former teammate Patrick Omameh, among others.
“Depth and options are as important as talent in the first line,” Long said. “Because there’s a lot of reps, a lot of games and you never know what’s going to happen.”
Long spoke with Marshall on camera Friday as part of his charity’s “Real Chats” series, and later participated in a ping-pong tournament to help Project 375 raise money to add behavioral health teams to 25 Chicago schools. Running back Matt Forte, Marshall’s new Jets teammate, even made an appearance.
Marshall, who was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, founded the charity to improve care and change the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
He flew to Chicago from New York, where on Friday a jury found that he was not liable for injuries sustained by a woman who alleged, in a civil suit, that Marshall hit her outside a nightclub in 2012.
Marshall did not speak to reporters at his event Friday, but conducted his own interview of Long surrounding mental health issues.
Long detailed his 2009 DUI and subsequent withdrawal from Florida State. He praised his family for helping him through the ordeal; his older brother, Chris, personally took him to a rehab facility.
“It’s a very important day —to show that even a three-time Pro Bowler can struggle with certain things,” Long said. “And there’s hope out there for people that struggle with things. You can wear it with pride. Because that’s what I did.”
Long, who thrives on structure, told the group he speaks with Jay Cutler every day, even if just to compare notes on a workout. If the quarterback calls Long and doesn’t hear back quickly enough, he’ll have wife Kristin Cavallari check in on Long.
When Long joked that he didn’t think Cutler liked him as a rookie, Marshall quipped that the quarterback “has a funny way of showing love.”
Long and Marshall remained friends after the Bears traded the receiver a year ago, and still talk on FaceTime frequently.
“Bear or not,” Long said, “he stands for something and he works very hard at this.”