When Chris Long studies video of the opposing offensive line this week, searching for tendencies and vulnerabilities, he can’t also help but notice strong plays by the Bears’ right guard.
And the Rams defensive end wells up with pride.
Long and younger brother Kyle play against each other for the first time Sunday, and their Hall of Fame father, Howie, will watch from a suite. The elder Long has always felt sympathy for another former NFL player, Archie Manning, when his quarterback sons face one another.
Howie Long would normally be in a Los Angeles studio on a fall Sunday. His employer, Fox, insisted he take the day off, though Long will still briefly appear on air as the network televises the game. He’ll go from commentator to interviewee, from analyzing the story to part of the story.
With an age gap of almost four years, the two have never shared the same field in uniform. Not surprisingly, these two large, competitive, athletic guys have tangled in plenty of “melees,” as Howie puts it.
Their worst fight, Kyle said, “probably had to do with something I may or may not have mumbled under my breath to my mom regarding taking the trash out.”
“I’m going to leave it at that,” he added. “I don’t talk back to my mom anymore, and I keep my distance from my brother when I’m being asked to do things.”
Kyle is happy to go into vivid detail about a rivalry at the family’s vacation home in Montana. The brothers try to see who can push a jeep 30 yards the fastest.
Kyle can even remember the exact times for last summer: He did it 9 1/2 seconds, Chris in 11. Kyle was so pumped that he ignored exhaustion to sprint away in celebration, trash-talking the whole way. In this telling, Chris just sat on the ground, pouting.
Chris contends the differential was a half-second.
“When I adjusted the fact that he weighs 58 pounds more than me, maybe, I think I won,” he said. “That’s my claim, at least.”
Frequently during the season, one brother will get a 10-minute break between meetings and text the other.
Even this week.