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Does Kyle Long’s Twitter Rant Hint At Deeper Problems For The Bears?

Kyle Long Matt Nagy Chicago Bears
Kyle Long Matt Nagy Chicago Bears

On Tuesday of this week, former Chicago Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long expressed some controversial opinions about the Bears coaching staff on Twitter. Reading in between the lines, it sure seems like there is a chemistry issue at Halas Hall. Kyle Long would more or less be the last man standing of the previous era of Chicago Bears football, an era that head coach Matt Nagy is eager to close the door on. Is Nagy’s desire to shake off +10 years of mediocre Bears football costing him the team culture?

It all started when Kyle responded to a follower that wanted to know why he had retired so “young”:

Now it’s no secret that Kyle Long played a physical style of football and earned several injuries for his efforts. Kyle is currently 31 years old, which is not exactly young for offensive lineman and over time, those injuries get harder and harder to recover from or play through. With that in mind, in the 2019 season, Long got injured again, this time injuring his hip in week 4 against Minnesota. He ended up retiring in January, after the season had finished, so perhaps he had no desire in rehabbing this most recent hip injury and was ready to move on with his life. But then there’s this tweet:

For those that may have forgotten, the Bears Raiders game played in London last year may have been the most single disappointing outing in Bears football history, except for possible the Double Doink. Furthermore, the Oakland game in London was week 5, so only 1 week after Kyle initially got injured. What remains unclear is whether he’s referring to his overall outlook from coaches at halftime or if he outright was told that his days were numbered as a Bear. Kyle tweeted again about the London game:

In either case, it’s an unfortunate circumstance for one of the best linemen in Bears history to be involved in but begs the question, what else is brewing behind the scenes? That London game was an absolute disaster and marked the turning point in what had been a tough yet optimistic season into a careening nose dive. The Bears did ultimately put out some of the flames of the dumpster fire that was the 2019 season and finish .500 but all momentum was lost after London. Building on top of Kyle’s tweet about not being the “same guy I used to be”, Matt Nagy has been very clear in stating that he’s not doing more of the same at Soldier Field. His most polarizing quote that hammers that point home is that “I’m not here to run the I formation”. Nagy is very clearly on a crusade to shake things up, for better or for worse, and Kyle Long is a vivid reminder of the old guard. Sure, Kyle was no spring chicken but his style and ultimately his culture-fit was perhaps more similar to the Marc Trestman/John Fox days and Nagy clearly wants to stand out from those coaching styles.

On the other hand, Kyle Long did have an uncharacteristic hot streak brewing in training camp before the 2019 season. Feels like it largely got glossed over following Myles Garrett’s helmet incident but Long took off rookie OL Jalen Dalton’s helmet and was swinging it at him. I’m definitely reading in between the lines here but I wouldn’t rule that Long hurt his reputation as a leader in the locker room and that coupled with an injury made it an easier decision to retire.

Either way, it’s unfortunate that Kyle Long doesn’t have only warm and fuzzy feelings for his old team but football is just business at the end of the day. Also, let’s all cross our fingers that things don’t continue to surface and that Matt Nagy can stay in control of the locker room.

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