For at least one player on each side of the field, Sunday’s game between the Rams and Chicago Bears will hold a bit more meaning than simply the next game on the schedule. This week will also mark the first competitive meeting between Rams DE
The two Longs are four years apart, and have rarely had the opportunity to oppose one another in an organized setting. That will change Sunday, when they will be lined up mere feet apart from each other.
Asserting that the two have been looking forward to the meeting could be a mild understatement, particularly for the younger of the two brothers. The timing of this initial meeting was not lost on either of them when Kyle Long was chosen by the Bears with the 20th overall pick in this year’s draft.
“To say I haven’t been looking forward to this from the minute I got drafted, I would be lying to you guys,” Kyle Long said. “I knew Nov. 24 was the date right when Chris put his iPhone right in my face after I got off the phone with the Bears. He had the schedule already pulled up.”
The game will also be attended by his parents, who rarely have the opportunity to see their sons play due to father Howie Long’s game day duties with the Fox network. While seeing both of their sons on the field will certainly represent a proud moment for the family, maintaining a rooting interest for either could certainly prove challenging.
“I think if you ask a parent, they would rather this never happens, because the emotions are so mixed,” Chris Long said. It’ll be great to see my parents. I don’t get to see them a whole lot, especially my dad during the season. My mom is splitting time between going to my brother’s games and if we have a prime time game. My youngest brother (Howie, Jr.) will be there, too.”
Despite the four-year age gap, the brothers are exceptionally close, speaking daily, even during the season. Though they have not squared off against each other on the field, the Longs have managed to find creative ways to maintain competitive off of it.
The two often focus their competition around offseason workouts, including last summer, when they trained together near the family’s property in Montana. When the more conventional means of athletic competition fail to determine a winner, the Longs got creative, a story that the younger Long described in detail during his conference call with St. Louis media on Wednesday.
“We were pushing trucks, we had just finished long-distance running, which Chris smoked me in,” Kyle Long said.” We were doing a truck push, and we were pushing them about 20 yards. He pushed his in 10 seconds. I pushed mine in 9.8. That’s my claim to fame.”
Sibling rivalries aside, the Longs remain tremendously supportive and proud of the strides each has made in his respective NFL career. Chris Long, who was also a first-round pick when he was the second overall choice out of Virginia in 2008, has great admiration for his younger brother’s career ascension.
“We’re both blessed to have the opportunities that we’ve had to make it as far as we’ve made it,” Chris Long said. I’m very proud of him and I’m looking forward to sharing the field with him and getting at it, because it’s going to be a very physical ballgame in general, and he’s a big part of what they do. It’ll be a lot of fun.”