This past Thursday and Friday, Kyle Long partnered with Courtyard by Marriott to host football fans at the "Courtyard @ pod" at Draft Town in Chicago, and as always, when Kyle Long gets involved, you know it will be a good time:
Kyle Long at Draft Town. Courtesy of Courtyard.
As he put it to me, "It's going to be going on at Draft Town all weekend... a ton of football fans out there, it's kind of a wild set-up." Pivoting away from the party and onto the main event, I asked Long his thoughts about the selection of his former teammate Marcus Mariota by the Titans at #2 overall. Long said that Titans fans will "see a really smart guy who has the ability to pick up the offense very quickly. I’m very excited to see his transition into the NFL." In regards to some of the doubts people have about the Oregon QB, Long stated that, "When Chip Kelly went to the Eagles, some people said 'his college offense won't work in the pros,' but Chip put up 52 points a game or whatever it was. I'm looking forward to seeing Marcus get out there in Tennessee and have some success."
Moving down the draft board, I asked Long about his take on Bears first-rounder Kevin White. He said he was "really, really happy with the pick - very solid. I shot him a text [Thursday] night, but I'm sure his phone shut off from the amount of texts he got - he had 50 people with him at the draft, so I can only imagine what his inbox was looking like."
Kyle Long tries the 40 Yard Character Dash with... Kyle Long? Courtesy of Courtyard.
The Bears have done yeoman's work in the offseason putting together a new front office and coaching staff, and Long has been impressed with the results. As he said, "The McCaskeys did a great job of getting the best football minds they could and the best football people they could. Really hardnosed guys who are going to put in those extra hours in the office and who get along really well with the guys on the team. They're guys who you can have a conversation with, and guys who are passionate about the game."
Long himself has been equally busy getting himself ready this offseason, and in the last few months, it's all business for the third-year player. He said that "My job is to be a good football player, so I've been doing everything in my power to get ready. I've been working out a lot, watching a lot of film, and just trying to immerse myself in this new offense."
Kyle Long has been a big supporter of both the Bulls and Blackhawks as each team moves through the playoffs, but as far as predicting equal success for his own team, Long isn't going to risk jinxing it. As he stated, "I don't have a football crystal ball, so I'm going to take it one day at a time. The Bulls and the Blackhawks have had good seasons and hopefully I'll get to a Bulls - Cavs game and some of the Hawks games coming up, but I'm really exciting about putting our best foot forward here in the offseason. Looking forward to getting out there and showing people the new look Bears."
To close, I asked Long for his advice for what the Bears should do to close out the draft. Agreeing with Ryan Pace's approach so far, Long kept his advice simple: "Go out and get as many good football players as you can. Too many people emphasize positional needs, but I feel like we need to continue to stockpile good football players, because, well, good football teams have good football players."
A big thanks to both Kyle Long and Courtyard for taking time out to chat with WCG, and while the only jersey we'll be seeing Long wearing in Chicago for the next few weeks will be colored red, here's to hoping that Bulls and Blackhawks players will be showing up in blue to Soldier Field come January.