The Chicago Bears and New England Patriots have been holding joint practices this week in advance of Thursday night’s preseason matchup at Gillette Stadium, and while bringing the teams together has led to at least one instance of on-field fisticuffs, it has also brought some brotherly love as Chris and Kyle Long have had a rare chance to spend time together.
Both men are sons of Hall of Fame defensive lineman Howie Long. Kyle is a 27-year-old offensive lineman for the Bears, and Chris is a 31-year-old defensive lineman who recently signed on with the Patriots. The two rarely cross paths on the football field, and NFL.com took the opportunity to sit down with both for an interview.
“I didn’t know I wanted to play football until I saw you playing in the league,” said Kyle to his brother, “because I didn’t think I could. I never thought I was, like, tough enough or whatever. And then I saw you getting after it.”
“That’s weird,” responded Chris, “because I remember when I was going into college dad told me I probably wasn’t athletic enough to play D-end, I should probably work on my guard skills.”
The brothers talked about the uniqueness of playing against each other, something both players seem, interestingly, a bit uncomfortable with. How do they handle those situations when they have to knock pads against each other?
“That’s No. 95, that’s not Chris Long,” said Kyle. “I’ve got to block him.”
“I can’t tell you what I’m thinking,” responded Chris, with a poker face.
“As bad as people want us to hate each other and blow each other up on the field, it’s just not going to happen unless the situation calls for it,” Chris said.
“There’s always the if,” Kyle said and both players exchanged a knowing glance.
Football is a sport of violence, in which physical dominance reigns at its core, even more when it comes to linemen, whose prime mission is to crush the person lined up across from them. Now consider the instance when that person across from you is someone you are close with, someone you love. How do you deal with that?
It’s a fascinating and rare dynamic and so unusual for us to get a chance to hear about it from brothers. The situation is so difficult and uncomfortable that the brothers said their father was “worried sick” when he found out they would be practicing against each other all week.
“He thought we were going to be fighting or doing something stupid,” Chris said.
But both brothers said that facing off in practices has been different – and much more fun – than playing against each other in games. There is plenty of joking around and trash talking between plays, and for brothers who don’t get to see each other that much, they have made the most of their time to mingle and hang out together.
It’s an interesting video and well worth your time, offering a unique viewpoint on the game and the mindset players have when they square off on the field. You can watch the whole thing here, or download the audio here.