Chris Long Describes How Tom Brady Blew Him Away During Long’s Super Bowl-Winning Season With The Patriots

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Chris Long spent a decade in the NFL before announcing his retirement over the weekend. During the twilight of his career, the defensive end and 2018 Walter Payton Man Of The Year played one season with the New England Patriots in 2016 after spending the previous seven years meddling with the Rams. Long won a Super Bowl during his cup of coffee with the Patriots, and was part of one of the greatest and most improbable comebacks in sports history (28-3).

Long would pick up another Super Bowl ring the following year as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, but his admiration for The Patriot Way would not diminish. In speaking with Peter King of Pro Football Talk in the wake of his retirement, the 34-year-old expressed his esteem for the genius of Bill Belichick and how Tom Brady was one of the most likable guys in the locker room.

“In New England, I learned so much about football. I always thought I was a smart player, even though I never thought about anything but the six inches in front of my face. In New England, I was forced to learn so many schematic concepts. In my career playing football, nobody asked me to do as much as Bill Belichick did. I might be 3-technique, or a linebacker, or a linebacker dropping into coverage more than ever, or playing inside more than ever. I’ll always remember how much I learned watching Bill in practice. He can coach any position as good as any position coach in league. He can walk around the field and stop drills and coach each position—at the highest level. And the quality of the dudes. Solid men. The right kind of people.

“Tom Brady blew me away. Who’s the most famous athlete of our generation: Tom Brady? LeBron? Messi? Ronaldo? Serena Williams? Maybe I haven’t been around enough to know how the biggest stars really act. But Brady is a normal guy,” Long said. “When I got there, here comes Tom. ‘Hey Chris, I’m Tom, nice to meet you.’ Well, yeah, I know you’re Tom. A lot of people want to hate him for all the success, and I understand how you can dislike the Patriots, but I cannot understand how you can dislike Tom.”

This narrative about Tom Brady isn’t new, as former teammates have praised the legendary quarterback’s leadership abilities in the past. Doug Flutie, who made his last stop in New England in 2005 to play behind Tom Brady, said this:

“Tom was great. Besides being first in, last out, hardest worker, and all that. I mean the football end of it, the IQ, brilliant. But he had a knack for making everyone feel like they were important. Everybody had a piece of this. The guy that’s in the training room, he didn’t even practice that week, Tom would go in an have a comment for him–‘you did a great job on scout team last week and you really made us better.’ Things of that nature.

He would acknowledge any contribution by anyone on the team. It was pretty impressive.”

How can you hate this guy?! Sounds awesome!

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Matt’s love of writing was born during a sixth grade assembly when it was announced that his essay titled “Why Drugs Are Bad” had taken first prize in D.A.R.E.’s grade-wide contest. The anti-drug people gave him a $50 savings bond for his brave contribution to crime-fighting, and upon the bond’s maturity 10 years later, he used it to buy his very first bag of marijuana.