The Chicago Bears are bringing former number one pick Jake Long in for a workout Thursday at Halas Hall.
Jake Long was once one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL. Long was the first overall selection of the Miami Dolphins in the 2008 NFL Draft and rewarded the team by going to four consecutive Pro Bowls from 2008 to 2011. He was also first team All-Pro in 2010. As a left tackle, Long played arguably the second most important position on the roster and excelled at it for several years.
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Unfortunately for Long, he battled injuries most of his career and suffered a torn ACL in back-to-back seasons in 2013 and 2014 and hasn’t been the same player since those unfortunate injuries. Long signed midseason with the Atlanta Falcons in 2015 where he appeared in just four games and played in only 26 total snaps for the season. The Falcons signed the oft-injured tackle in hopes that he could help fortify their offensive line, but he was never able to push for any kind of significant playing time.
After a very mediocre 2015 campaign, Long wasn’t very high on anyone’s free agent radar coming into the 2016 offseason, and he sat around for most of the last three months waiting for the phone to ring. That call finally came.
After the release of Tayo Fabuluje, the Chicago Bears are looking for some depth at the tackle positions and are going to see if Long can fill that void. Long is not related to current Bears guard Kyle Long (Kyle’s brother is Chris who plays for the New England Patriots), but perhaps if the Bears sign Jake, Kyle can help him recapture some of the skills he possessed several years ago.
Despite the big name, this isn’t a significant move for the Bears. If Long can return somewhat to form, he could be an excellent sub at both tackle positions and could start if Charles Leno or Bobbie Massie struggle or go down with an injury.
Whether Long can return to that form is a big question mark, but that’s what Ryan Pace and John Fox will be taking a close look at him Thursday at Halas Hall. Regardless of what comes from the workout, it’s good to see that the Bears are constantly working to improve their roster.