Former New England Patriots defensive end Chris Long was recently introduced by the Philadelphia Eagles. Why did he decide to leave New England?
Shortly after winning the Super Bowl, it became clear that New England Patriots defensive end Chris Long was going to be playing elsewhere in 2017.
Despite winning a Super Bowl and having a successful season in New England. Long knew pretty quickly that he wanted to play elsewhere. Generally, winning is important for a player, and it surely was for Long in 2016. However, he didn’t feel like New England was the best for him to produce on the field every Sunday.
In 2016, Long totaled just four sacks, but he was one of the best defensive ends in the NFL at hurrying the quarterback. Unfortunately, hurries aren’t as flashy of a stat as sacks, and Long understandably wanted to be in a position to succeed.
Even though it was strange to see Long announce that he wouldn’t be returning to New England before signing with another team, he was upfront with the organization about his plans.
"“It wasn’t any bad blood,” Long said to the Philadelphia media via Tim McManus of ESPN.com. “Just football-wise, it was more about finding a positive, and the positive for me, the thing I enjoy the most is playing in a situation that allows me to be proud of what I put on the field every Sunday. Pretty quickly after the season, I was able to be straight up with the coaches there, who I admire a lot, that I was probably going to look to go elsewhere.”"
Long is certainly best-served to be in a 4-3 base defense. In 2017, he should be able to succeed with the Eagles in that role.
Even though Long might be in a better position to succeed individually, he likely won’t be playing playoff football this coming season. The Eagles are currently building around their talented young quarterback in Carson Wentz, but they still aren’t likely ready to challenge the New York Giants or Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East.
Long was certainly a good player for New England in 2016, and it appears that he is ready to embark on the next chapter of his career in Philadelphia.