Prior to the 2020 season, former Chicago Bears guard Kyle Long had dealt with a slew of injuries dating back to the 2016 season.
After a hip injury only a few weeks into 2019 placed him on injured reserve for the fourth time in as many years, the Bears chose not to pick up their team option on his contract and Long announced he was retiring to "focus on his body."
His hiatus away from the game didn't last long though, as the seven-year NFL veteran ended his one-year and two-month retirement on Thursday as he officially signed a one-year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Long said the retirement was beneficial and gave him time to fine-tune his physique and connect with his family while letting him refocus on the game.
"Yeah, it was an opportunity for me to regain physical, mental, emotional composure, get my feet back under me," Long said. "Played a lot of golf, spent a lot of time with my fiancée, got to spend time with my nephews which is something I didn't really get to do a lot when I was playing and they’re in a formative time in their life so they need an uncle around. But, I knew right away when I was let go in Chicago, I would be back and I needed to do everything in my power to get myself back to where I knew I could come in and play the level of football I know I can play."
The Chiefs weren't the only team in play for the three-time Pro Bowler, though. Long traveled to Las Vegas to work out for the Raiders but left their facilities without a deal.
Long flew from Vegas to Kansas City the next day to meet with head coach Andy Reid and the Chiefs. He said when he was in the meetings, he knew this is where he wanted to be.
"I wanted to experience free agency," Long said. "I had never done that before obviously being in one city my entire career. Vegas had me in, it was a good trip and I went straight from there to here and it feels awkward landing in a city that you don't consider home but when you walk into this building here in Kansas City, it becomes apparent that things are different here, and sitting in Coach Reid’s office, I just knew this is where I wanted to be and if they wanted to have me, I was going to do everything in my power to make this happen."
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