Chris Long was a football player.
The son of former NFL great Howie Long, Chris put together a fine career at the University of Virginia en route to being drafted second overall in the 2008 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams.
The pick more than held up.
Long played in 114 games for the Rams racking up 247 tackles and 54.5 sacks in his eight seasons in the Lou. Sadly, the team as a whole never gave Long the chance to succeed with the Rams in larger collective terms.
Perhaps fittingly, Long was jettisoned as the Rams relocated to Los Angeles. The timing was right for Long to seek out the kind of environment the current Los Angeles Rams are offering talented, end-of-career veterans. And he found those environments with the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles where he won Super Bowl rings, one with each.
But Chris Long was more than a football player.
He lived a life of charitable works that extended far beyond the football field into his Waterboys campaign to deliver clean water to parts of Africa to his efforts to raise awareness to help eliminate homelessness to becoming the first white player in the NFL to support the protests during the national anthem when he put his arm around Eagles CB Malcolm Jenkins who raised his fist just one week after the riots in Long’s hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia:
Chris Long was a football player. And he was a Ram. And he was a fine one, but he was a better person. And he’s not retiring from life.
Here’s to a football career but also to a better world because of it.
A great player + an even better person.— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) May 19, 2019
Thank you @JOEL9ONE for all you did in the horns on + off the field. Cheers to an incredible career! pic.twitter.com/L29Oezydhh
Congratulations to Chris Long on an incredible NFL career! pic.twitter.com/WsSd679ebD— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) May 19, 2019