SB Nation’s latest theme week article corresponded with the news that broke last night about Chicago Bears offensive guard Kyle Long.
Our topic this week is, “The one thing I would change about my team's season is...”
While I could discuss numerous things I’d like to have gone differently about this fourth consecutive losing season in Chicago, I’m going with the way the Bears handled Long’s injury.
The one thing I would change about the Bears’ season is they should have allowed Kyle Long to get his body right before letting him play.
Long had offseason surgery on his ankle, but his labrum was also ailing after his 2016 season. He had some complications during his ankle rehab that slowed his readiness for training camp, and that also led to him deciding to put off the labrum surgery.
It’s entirely possible that Kyle Long insisted that he be allowed to play once being medically cleared in 2017, but if so, the Bears should have shut that notion down. They just inked him to a huge contract extension in the spring, so they should have been concerned with protecting their investment. Long needed to be placed on the PUP list, and eased back into practice when fully healed.
Yesterday, Long had the first of three surgeries that he’s slated to have when he went under the knife to fix his neck. He’ll also get his left labrum and left hand surgically repaired at some point soon.
Long took to Twitter to explain his string of maladies.
For people wondering about all my injuries; I’m gonna lay out a timeline for you and it will hopefully help paint a picture of what has transpired the last few years— Kyle (@Ky1eLong) December 20, 2017
First three years I played every game except for one or two. I switched positions to help team in third year (also wanted a challenge) learned a lot about OL switching positions— Kyle (@Ky1eLong) December 20, 2017
Fourth year, back to guard... healthy, dominant and improving on a daily basis. Tore my labrum in preseason. Opted to play the year and be there for my team - plan was to fix after season— Kyle (@Ky1eLong) December 20, 2017
Late in the fourth year I got rolled up in the pile and mangled my ankle. Surgery and rehab needed... no time for shoulder.— Kyle (@Ky1eLong) December 20, 2017
Fifth year coming in I was no where near 100% and I did what I could to play and help our young team. As year went on (as a result of shoulder) things happened in proximity of shoulder that were unfortunate. Neck became an issue.— Kyle (@Ky1eLong) December 20, 2017
Now is time for me to fix myself. Wanted you guys to hear it from me. I’m very excited about what the future holds for this team, and I’m jacked up about being healthy again— Kyle (@Ky1eLong) December 20, 2017
And again, thank you all for the support it means the world to me and my family— Kyle (@Ky1eLong) December 20, 2017
I really hope the Bears didn’t screw up any chance Long has to get back close to what he once was. The 29-year old Long should be in the prime of his career, but with two seasons full of injuries, I fear he may never be the same player that made three straight Pro Bowls.
* My use of the term 100% is all relative to the general health of a professional football player. No one is ever “100%” in the NFL, but the Bears should have got Long as close as possible before turning him lose.