Bears-Rams game Long family affair

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by short faced bear, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

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    Rookie guard Kyle will go against defensive end Chris with Hall-of-Fame father Howie proudly watching both

    By Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune reporter

    November 20, 2013

    The Bears' trip to St. Louis on Sunday is about more than a game. It's kind of a long story, encompassing everything from father and sons to brother vs. brother and the enduring love of a family and a bond through the game of football.

    It's about the most personal of relationships for Hall of Famer Howie Long, his oldest son Chris, the Rams' left defensive end and second overall pick in 2008, and Bears rookie right guard Kyle Long, a building block on the offensive line for years to come.

    Howie has experienced or witnessed nearly everything in 33 years around the NFL as a player and analyst, but the man gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson once dubbed the "manliest man on the planet Earth" has no idea what it will be like for himself Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.

    The Pro Football Hall of Fame lists more than 360 sets of brothers who have played professional football, but few have done battle against their bloodline in the trenches.

    "It's one of those things where I don't think I will have an answer for you until it happens," said Chris, who is four years older and says he never has competed with or against Kyle in any sport at any level. "I'll treat it like any other game. Or I'll try to. It will be fun. I will be proud to be on the same field as him."

    For the first time in 20 years as a member of Fox's pregame show, Howie will have a Sunday off. In a suite, 50 family members and friends will come together, including Howie Jr., a football operations assistant for the Raiders who also was given the day off.

    "It's going to be strange but it is exciting," said Howie Jr., a year younger than Kyle and the quarterback of their high school football team. "Offensive and defensive linemen going at each other is the most brutal one-on-one matchup throughout a game. I just hope the two of them don't lose their cool toward each other because I know it is going to be very heated."

    It's not like Chris, 28, will be lined up across from Kyle, 24. They won't come face mask-to-face mask on every play, but in certain situations, Kyle is going to be assigned to block his brother.

    "I'll have, I am sure, a few opportunities where it will be Chris and I going against each other," Kyle sad. "It is going to be really weird, but I already told him, 'Do you realize how lucky we are to have this problem?'"

    In Ivy, Va., a small village just west of Charlottesville, Howie coached his sons in baseball and was an assistant football coach at their high school, St. Anne's-Belfield. In a house with three boys, things were ultra-competitive. Naturally, Kyle spent more time with Howie Jr. because they were closer in age.

    "Chris was my hero," Kyle said. "The closest I have gotten to him on a football field was watching his open practices at the University of Virginia. I was just glued to his every step. He still is, in my mind, almost a folk character. He's a legend in our hometown, and to his younger brothers he is an inspiration.

    "He plays so hard. You think to yourself, why is it my brother is playing so hard and everybody else isn't? He must have some sort of extra gene or something. I don't know what it is. He just has a high motor and you match that with talent and you have the finished product."

    In a lot of ways, Chris says he is the one looking up to Kyle, not just physically as the younger one is 6-foot-6, 313 pounds and the Rams list Chris at 6-3, 270. Chris takes pride in the circuitous route Kyle took to the NFL after the shadows of substance abuse ended his baseball career at Florida State before it started.

    "Kyle has been able to overcome a lot of obstacles in the past few years," Chris said. "Granted, he probably dug himself a hole, but he got himself out of it and a lot of people can't do that. I am just really proud of him for that."

    Kyle still is following his brother's every move when he can. Before the Sunday night game in Week 3 at Pittsburgh, their mother, Diane, picked Kyle up at the team hotel and he "snuck out" to catch the Rams-Cowboys game at noon. They found a bar, which included some Bears fans, and Kyle devoured his pancakes and bacon while watching his brother.

    Chris has kept up with the Bears but says it's different. He remembers being at a hotel in North Carolina on a Friday night his senior year when he learned Kyle had been taken off the high school field on a stretcher. It was a hopeless feeling that overcame him. Turned out it was just a stinger.

    "My parents always told me it is hard to watch someone you love play and I never really appreciated how hard it is until Kyle started playing in college at that level, at that speed and so far away — he was in Oregon and I am watching at home on TV," Chris said. "It's really hard to describe how you feel. Every pile he goes into, every collision, you're like, 'Get up! Get up! Get up!' I can only imagine the hell I have been putting my parents through the past couple of years. I've come to appreciate that."

    Howie, who attended all four Bears' exhibitions and the prime-time games, is fixated on his sons at Fox. He dishes analysis at halftime, but if the Bears or Rams are playing, that is what he is glued to.

    "It is really hard when they are on simultaneously and it's even harder when they're taking a snap simultaneously and you're watching two sets," Howie said. "Even when I am on the air and we're doing halftime and the Bears or Rams are on, my monitor is on the game live. I'll be looking down at the TV and I'll come up and make a point and I'll go back down to the TV."

    From a football standpoint, it will be a challenge for the Bears to protect quarterback Josh McCown. The Rams are tied for sixth in the NFL with 32 sacks but are No. 1 in sacks per pass play, getting one every 9.7 attempts. Chris, who hasn't missed a game in 51/2 seasons, has 61/2.

    Howie believes Kyle has come a long way since even the start of the season when he was as green as they come with just four starts in his one season at Oregon to lean back on. He regularly dispenses advice to his kids because "I can't help them with their geometry" but said the football conversations are separate from the father conversations.

    "My rookie year I came in on third down and rushed the quarterback," Howie said. "I didn't even know what we were doing on defense. I told Kyle, 'You're playing guard in today's NFL. It's the equivalent of running across the 405 freeway (in Los Angeles) against traffic.' In many ways it's less about can I block someone and about who I block? If you're wrong, the quarterback is back there, the ball squirts out and it can be a game-changing play.

    "Kyle was very raw. What he has you can't coach. What he doesn't have you can coach. Now what it comes down to is how badly do you want it and how hard will you work at it? I think he has made tremendous leaps and he has a ways to go, but he can be as good as he wants to be."

    The game will be the focal point of the weekend for the family, but the experience is what will shape memories for Howie, Diane and their boys. The one word Kyle kept coming back to when talking about the game is "blessed."

    "It's about the bigger picture," Chris said.

    Four uncles and a grandmother played a big role in raising Howie in the Charlestown section of Boston. It is a driving reason why he always has preached what is most important.

    "They've heard it 5,000 times at the dinner table," Howie said. "Take a second to look around because you think you have a lot of friends but these are the people who would jump in front of a bus to save your life. This is what you have at the end of the day. Remember that."

    But for three hours, and roughly 65 snaps, Chris is going to be hunting McCown and running back Matt Forte and Kyle will be in his path.

    "We're not quite sure how they're going to handle it or how we're going to handle it," Howie said. "I do know, for the record, that they do love one another."


    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sport...s-biggs-chicago-20131120,0,4056156,full.story
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  2. shark86x

    shark86x Pro-Bowler SuperFan

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    So Howie Jr. is 23 and in high school??? Am I missing something?
  3. Wolfman

    Wolfman Assistant Head Coach

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    Yes, reading comprehension...
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  4. mdbearz

    mdbearz Veteran

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    I read it as Howie Jr was the QB when him and Kyle were in high school.
  5. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Position Coach

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    Or maybe he is the one that Howie Sr. made responsible for helping with the Geometry. It's taking him a little while to get it all down though...
  6. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

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    At least Webb wasn't his tutor.
  7. shark86x

    shark86x Pro-Bowler SuperFan

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    "a year younger than Kyle and the quarterback of their high school football team." He IS a year younger and IS the QB. If the writer wants to mix tenses he should have written it more clearly: He IS a year younger and WAS the QB. My comprehension is fine, thank you.
  8. shark86x

    shark86x Pro-Bowler SuperFan

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    Webb tutoring geometry?

    J'M W: Let's grab a dozen dunkin donuts. It's a sphere.
    Student: What? How can donuts be a sphere? The box is a cubic parallelogram and a donut is a torus.
    J'M W: I ate the donuts, and now they're a sphere in my belly.
    student: then what?
    J'M W: they'll become a cylinder tomorrow.
    :10_4_1[1]:
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  9. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Position Coach

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    This is what I enjoy about this site the most. Real life lessons that a person can relate to.

    .... where is that tape measure.... I want to have to tomorrow to make sure my donut cylinder hasn't lost any mass from when it was a sphere.
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  10. jackiejokeman

    jackiejokeman Pro-Bowler

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    Just make sure its a bowl winder ... ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh ... oh great the kids used up all the toilet paper !

    BTW its a torouid ...not a sphere.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  11. jackiejokeman

    jackiejokeman Pro-Bowler

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    Toroid ... not toilet 'roids. Theres a difference.
  12. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Position Coach

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    it was a sphere in the stomach.... but now we are splitting hairs, which is what happens when it becomes a cylinder.
  13. paranoidninja

    paranoidninja Rookie

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    You guys have RUINED the ushy-gushy feeling of excitement I had reading this article!
  14. jackiejokeman

    jackiejokeman Pro-Bowler

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    No problem it can be rectified ... have a half dozen dunkin donuts ... post the after results on youtube.

    We prefer HD in closeups ... especially your girlfriend.

    I never thought I would say this ... but I wish Steven Jackson was back at RB for St.Loo.

    The guy has been a bust where he went to.
  15. Wolfman

    Wolfman Assistant Head Coach

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    Sorry, major character flaw...just can't let it go...

    "a year younger than Kyle and the quarterback of their high school football team." is phase (an appositive phase, I believe) and as a phase has no subject or verb, and without a verb there are no tenses to mix.... Furthermore, since it would seem pretty clear to most that THEIR high school football team no longer actually exists.... Howie Jr. is, was, and will always be the QB of their high school football team...

    Regardless, read comprehension is more than incorrectly diagramming a single sentence...in this case, the subjects of that sentence have already been introduced and established... Kyle, a starting NFL linemen and Howie Jr. an assistant of football operations for an NFL team...how you got confused into thinking a one sentence later that one or both where still in High School is on you...
  16. shark86x

    shark86x Pro-Bowler SuperFan

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    You know, I was really just joking around (as I usually do), there was no need to get into the grammar lesson. But as long as you did, what is a phase? I know there are phases of matter, phases in electricity, phases of a project, etc, but I have never heard of a phase of a sentence before. If you want me to understand you really mean a phrase, that is on you, the writer, not me.

    Okay everybody, grammar lessons are over, let's get back to geometry, shall we? Or maybe even back to the topic of Chris vs. Kyle.
  17. Wolfman

    Wolfman Assistant Head Coach

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    Thanks god I am not a professional writer...but then again if I was I'd probably have someone like you check my spelling and grammar...so, maybe someone better....

    And yeah, we're both joking around....

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