Kyle Long Didn’t Expect to be Drafted as High as he Was

April 29, 2013 – 7:05 am by Brad Gagnon

The Chicago Bears continue to make a strong push to revamp an offensive line that for years has taken beatings. The latest step in that process came in Round 1 of the NFL draft, with Chicago taking Oregon offensive guard/tackle Kyle Long, who just so happens to be Howie’s son and Chris’s brother.

Kyle Long joined Boers and Bernstein on WSCR in Chicago to discuss his role with the Bears, what he has to improve, his position, how he’ll avoid temptations at the pro level, his relationship with the game of football, being picked higher than expected and the Bears’ efforts during the pre-draft process.

On expecting to play a big role as a rookie:

“Everybody that comes into an organization and gets drafted should have the confidence to be able to come in and make an impact. Saying that would be kind of a bold statement, but I can promise you I’m gonna show up and I’m gonna work my butt off.”

On what he believes he has to improve:

“My technique. I’m very raw in the game, I’m inexperienced, but I feel like my best football is ahead of me.”

On if he thinks he’ll eventually play tackle, rather than guard:

“You never know. There’s five positions up front and neither of them are much different from the other. So guard, tackle, it doesn’t matter. I’m an offensive lineman.”

On avoiding temptations as a millionaire athlete after dealing with substance-abuse issues earlier in life:

“You just focus on the task at hand. You wake up in the morning, you go to work, you go home, you look at your playbook, you look at your film for the day, probably eat a healthy meal and then get some sleep and get back into it the next day. It’s pretty simple.”

On why he decided to return to football after shying away earlier in life:

“Yeah, I kind of shied away from football out of high school for some reason. I think I was kind of running from the microscope that I was under. I wasn’t really prepared for the expectations, but as I’ve gotten older and grown more mature, I’ve realized that this is where I need to be. I’m a football player and it’s what runs through my veins. It’s in my DNA.”

On why he doesn’t play defensive line like his brother and father:

“I felt like playing offensive line had more of a natural progression for me. I can come off the ball and attack people, and I tried to just do that at the defensive side of the ball and I found myself out of the play most of the time, trying to get in a fight with the offensive tackles. … I need structure, so I think that’s what I like about the offensive side of the ball.”

On the Bears going to great lengths while interviewing him in the pre-draft process:

“It was clear to me that they had done their research. A lot of teams may have just taken the information that they may have Googled my name and asked me questions about what they found from the results. I really felt like the Chicago Bears did their research. They were asking me questions about stuff that I had completely forgotten. Middle school things, elementary school situations. It was clear to me that they went the extra mile to find out about who they were gonna get when they made their draft choice.”

On being picked higher than he expected:

“I hadn’t expected to be picked so high, but I was obviously grateful and excited about the opportunity and really thrilled about getting to work under Coach Trestman and for Coach Kromer.”

Listen to Kyle Long on WSCR here

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