Twenty Questions Heading into Training Camp: 6. Can Kyle Long Stay Healthy?
The Sixth question in our 20 question series- Can Kyle Long stay healthy?
Besides the win totals, one of the most frustrating things for Chicago Bears’ fans over the last couple seasons was the health of Kyle Long. Long had a solid rookie season and an excellent season in year’s two and three that landed him two Pro Bowl spots.
Long headed into his fourth season as a leader on the team and the player that was going to solidify the offensive line and help bring the Bears back up to a competitive level. Long only played in half the team’s games in 2016 and played in 10 (starting in 9) in 2017. Not only were missed games a problem, but it was obvious when Long played that he was hurting and not the same player he was prior to his struggles with injuries.
2018 is an important year for Long. Long signed a four-year, $40 million contract extension to stay with Chicago, but Long’s guaranteed money is front loaded, meaning the Bears could get out of this contract with only $3 million in dead cap in 2019. That’s the last thing anyone wants, but if Long struggles to stay on the field for a third consecutive
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season and doesn’t play up to expectations when he is on it, the Bears just might decide to cut ties with Long after this season.
Long is a great leader for the team and still has the potential to be a very good offensive lineman for several more years, but the Bears won’t be in a position to tie up $10 million per season on an underperforming guard.
Hopefully Long stays on the field, returns to his 2014 form and all concerns are behind everyone. Long says he’s the healthiest he’s been in years and he expects to rebound on the field this year. Based on the last two years, this question is almost impossible to answer right now.
This question won’t be answered until Long is on the field, stays on the field, and shows he is still the dominant lineman he was a few years ago. Everyone in Chicago wants Long to recover. Right now, fans are best to take a wait-and-see attitude with him and keep their fingers crossed that he’s back and better than ever.