The one-year partnership between defensive end Chris Long and the New England Patriots hardly could’ve worked out better.
Long was looking for a chance to win. The Patriots were looking for a veteran defender to help round out their defense. Both sides got a Super Bowl ring out of the exchange.
But with his championship in hand, Long decided to walk away from New England on good, but decisive, terms. Before the start of free agency, Long posted a message to social media indicating his desire to play elsewhere next season.
Long didn’t specifically state why he was leaving at the time, saying only that he wanted “to get back to being the player I was before.”
Regardless, he thanked all the people he needed to thank (fans, coaches), and generally left on good terms.
On a Friday podcast interview, Long confirmed what he’d stated previously, that he came to New England for a chance to win. However, he then went to to describe how his role on the Pats defense didn’t quite fit him.
“I said I would do anything to make that possible and to help,” Long said. “Most of the year I played inside, played on the right side. I played on the left side my whole career. And that’s not a big deal.
“But if I’m going to keep playing at my age, I still have a fire burning to be the type of player I want to be,” Long, 31, continued. “And I think at my age, playing three-technique, doing those things, I’m happy to do all the dirty work things, but eventually if I’m going to be me and get back to where I was, just for a year or two even, I had to go elsewhere.”
For now, he’s sitting back and waiting for the right opportunity to arise, knowing that he’s not the top priority on teams’ boards. With that said, that won’t stop fans from getting on his case.
“I don’t expect teams to jump at me. I didn’t expect to sign with anybody the first week. It’s funny. I get a lot of people in my Twitter feed who are like ‘Oh you don’t have a job yet, huh? I guess you didn’t realize the market wasn’t so big for you.’ And I’m like ‘Yeah, I don’t know if you know how this thing works for almost 32-year-old high motor ends.'”
GIANTS: New York is convinced star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is fully healed from a fireworks accident that severely damaged his right hand and confirmed it with a four-year contract worth about $68 million.
“This is where I wanted to be,” Pierre-Paul told the Giants website Friday. “I couldn’t imagine me being anywhere else.”
Two summers ago, on July 4, Pierre-Paul’s right hand was damaged in a fireworks accident.
• Quarterback Geno Smith agreed to terms with the Giants, pending passing a physical, according to numerous reports.
RAIDERS: Oakland hopes to lure running back Marshawn Lynch out of retirement, ESPN reported.
SEAHAWKS: Free-agent tight end Luke Willson and cornerback DeShawn Shead signed.
BILLS: Three free agents, including cornerback Leonard Johnson, signed.
Johnson has five seasons of NFL experience, including last year playing for new Bills Coach Sean McDermott in Carolina.
The Bills also signed running back Joe Banyard and receiver Corey Washington, who spent parts of last season on Buffalo’s practice squad.