Last month, veteran defensive end Chris Long explained in an Instagram post why he would not be re-signing with the New England Patriots.
Though the Patriots gave him the opportunity to earn his first Super Bowl ring, he wrote, he did not want to spend another season as a situational player, which he largely was in New England’s defense.
During an appearance on Albert Breer’s MMQB podcast posted Friday, Long expanded on those points, offering a lengthy and honest explanation for why he chose to leave New England after just one season.
“Well, I knew I wanted to go and have a chance to win a ring and see what that felt like to win, and I want to continue to win in the league,” Long said. “You have to work really hard no matter what team you’re on to win, so there’s no guarantee wherever you are you’re going to win. I just tried to go to the place that gave me the best opportunity. And I said I would do anything to make that possible and to help.
“Most of the year I played inside, played on the right side. I played on the left side my whole career. And that’s not a big deal. But if I’m going to keep playing at my age, I still have a fire burning to be the type of player I want to be. And I think at my age, playing three-technique, doing those things, I’m happy to do all the dirty work things, but eventually if I’m going to be me and get back to where I was, just for a year or two even, I had to go elsewhere.
“And I don’t know if they wanted me back or not, but it was one of those things where it’s like, I have too much respect for that organization to waste their time and go back and forth in negotiations or not tell them that I was planning on moving on. I have too much respect for them. It wasn’t a big deal that I was moving on for them. They’ll be just fine. But for me as a man, I just think I would hate to string them along, even if I was just depth at a position or just a piece of the puzzle.
“So, that’s kind of why I said I need to move on. If I’m going to keep playing football, I’m not going to do certain things that I was doing there. I was happy to do them this year, but hey, I’m a year older. If I want to keep playing, I’ve got to do certain things differently.”
Long, who recently returned home from Tanzania after hiking Mount Kilimanjaro, has yet to sign with a new team since becoming an unrestricted free agent last Thursday. He plans to wait for “the right situation” before making a decision on where he’ll play next.
“I can’t tell you how many years I have left,” Long told Breer. “But shoot, I can’t remember the last year where I didn’t miss a day of work, and that’s kind of where I was at this year. I feel very good.”
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images