When your dad is a Hall of Famer, it can be kind of tough to live up to expectations.
“It’s probably a little late in the game to get in the Hall of Fame,” Chris Long said with a laugh. “My dad was a hell of a player and I’m very proud of him.
“I’ve always separated myself and just done my own thing, (been) my own man. I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish in the league.”
Long has 58 1/2 sacks in nine seasons, the first eight with the Rams and last year with the Patriots. From 2011 through 2013, his 33 sacks were eighth-most in the NFL.
But the last three years, injuries limited his playing time and effectiveness and he’s totaled just eight more sacks. He signed a two-year, $4.8 million deal with the Eagles hoping to jump-start his career.
He said he doesn’t mind the pressure and expectations that come with being a Hall of Famer’s son, since there have always been more positives than negatives.
“It’s never easy, and expectations are certainly always there, but there’s a lot of positive with that pressure, too,” he said. “I’ve always embraced it. I think my dad’s made me a better man and a better football player, so the positives outweight the negatives of the pressure.”
Howie Long, a second-round pick out of Villanova in 1981, was an eight-time Pro Bowl defensive end and a two-time first-team all-pro in a 13-year career with the Raiders.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000, when Chris Long was 15 years old.
Long was the second pick overall in 2008, behind only Michigan tackle Jake Long, taken first by the Dolphins.
Chris Long was in Philadelphia Friday and said his dad’s only advice for him during the free agent signing period was that he would love playing in Philly.
“My dad always supports me in everything I want to do,” the younger Long said. “He’s got a great football mind. I’ll bounce things off him, but obviously he’s very supportive of it, and (playing in Philly) is one thing we can both agree on.”
Chris Long’s first game in college was a 44-14 Virginia win over Temple at the Linc, and his first game as a pro was a 38-3 Rams loss to the Eagles, also at the Linc.
“I lined up in front of Tra (Thomas) and I was like, ‘What the hell did I get myself into?'” Long said. “I was chasing around Donovan McNabb all day. I think they hung 44 on us (actually 38).
“But all I could remember was the fight song, and I just remember thinking throughout my career, ‘I really would love to play in a city like that, that’s got that kind of atmosphere.
“And my dad was able to drive that home. He was like, ‘You will love Philly, you’ll love the people, you’ll love the mentality, and having played in college there and having spent a lot of time there and played against the Eagles a lot in the NFL, he was like, ‘Man, you’ll love that city.'”
When it came to finding a good fit for his skill set, Long did all that work himself.
When it came to finding a city he would love to play in, that’s where Howie got his point across.
“I figured out the football part to have my dad to drive home, ‘You’re just going to love Philly,'” Long said. “That’s kind of where he came in and gave me a little insight there.”