Now Long is one year older; he’ll turn 34 in March. Is he ready to call it a career? Here’s what he had to say during an interview with SportsRadio 94WIP’s Jon Marks and Ike Reese:
I’d like to play football in 2019. I thought I had a really strong year. I felt good physically. Listen, I know I’m an older guy. But I don’t think I’ve missed a practice over the last two years. I feel like I’ve been durable. I’ve been ready when called upon. I had a good year rushing the passer, top five in [quarterback] hits in the league. I felt like I was able to make some good plays and hold my own. So, at the end of the day, the itch is still there. I still love playing on Sunday. But as far as what happens, literally kind of just sitting back and seeing what the Eagles do and who they bring in or don’t bring in and how deep that [defensive end] room gets. But I’d still love to play. But at the end of the day, at 33 [years old], I could go either way.
It sounds like Long is willing to return to the Eagles if there’s still a significant role for him on the team. And, really, there should be available playing time with Brandon Graham potentially leaving in free agency.
Then again, it’s rumored the Eagles are targeting top free agent pass rushers.
In any case, Long is currently under contract for the 2019 season. If he retires or gets cut or gets traded, the Eagles will save $5.3 million in cap space (compared to only $300,000 in dead money). If he sticks around, he’ll carry a $5.6 million cap hit this year.
There’s reason to believe Long can still be an effective player for the Eagles in 2019. Long recorded the sixth most quarterback hits last year, according to Pro Football Focus. He also finished 35th out of 109 edge rushers in terms of PFF’s pressure rate.
ON THE CARSON WENTZ REPORT
Long took to Twitter last week to publicly defend Wentz. He’s since doubled down on that support.
Here’s what Long had to say about Wentz on WIP:
It pissed me off. It did piss me off. Because we can handle — you know, somebody’s got an issue in this league, and there’s a lot of issue that people don’t … there’s a lot of issues that people don’t see in the locker room. And that’s because the locker room is a pretty sacred place. But for a small handful of people, whether they’re players or people in the organization, they decided that instead of maybe communicating with teammates and communicating whatever problem they have, they went that [anonymous] route, which is not really my deal. So, it kind of bothered me and it bothered me because Carson is kind of an exemplary kind of teammate and a really solid guy. If you’ve got a complaint you want to bring to the franchise QB, bring it to him directly. At the end of the day, you saw a lot of guys coming out — our locker room has done nothing but support Carson and Carson has supported us through this process, which has gotta be tough for him, watching the playoffs last year and playing hurt this year and seeing Nick [Foles] has to take over again this year. But that kid’s got a long, long career ahead of him and he’s going to make great memories in this city.
Long also discussed this topic on the Pardon My Take podcast with Big Cat and PFT Commenter:
LONG: In all seriousness, you know what was funny about that shit, was like … Carson Wentz is like the greatest person, like, character wise, to walk the Earth, bro. […] He’s the type of guy that like […] All I’ll say is, like, literally I limit my time around Carson Wentz because he makes me feel bad about myself. You know what I mean?
PMT: Oh, so then he’s bad teammate! Yes! Thank you. OK, “Carson Wentz makes Chris Long feel bad about himself.” [joking]
LONG: By being awesome. But you know what was funny that day, was like, there were six sources supposedly, which I think is chickenshit. But everybody on Twitter was like, ‘well, this guy hasn’t tweeted yet. This guy hasn’t tweeted yet. Can we cross you off the list?’ I was like dude, if you would do the anonymous source thing, don’t you think you would then fire off a tweet? I’m like, bro, people are doing True Detective with white boards, and like, yeah, whatever.
PMT: So, is it all bullshit? I mean, how does that work? Do you think someone talked to the press, and it probably was someone who’s like a trainer? Or whoever it may be that’s not part of the team?
LONG: I don’t want to call that writer a liar because I had no issue with the writer. Some people were like ‘Why would you attack the writer, go talk to your teammates.’ I was like, I don’t know who it was. And at the end of the day, that’s just something that it’s like a line I would prefer not to cross ever.
PMT: Why do you think people do that anonymously? Is it like a contract thing where some guy’s upset like — Nick Foles throws him the ball more and Carson throws him the ball less so they’re trying to like pump up their market value, or why would you do that?
LONG: There are a lot of reasons, I’m sure, but I can’t think of them. I mean, maybe they just, I don’t know, maybe they were, I don’t know. I don’t know.
PMT: Here’s one: what if you like, drop a big pass, goes through your hands in the playoffs and then you’re like ‘I want to change the narrative here.’
LONG: Alshon [Jeffery] wouldn’t do it. […] I’m a huge Alshon fan.
ON OTHER THINGS
There’s too much in both interviews to fully cover here so I suggest you check them out. Long talks about the new app he’s involved with, his thoughts on Nick Foles, having to face his brother in the playoffs, and much more.