(CBS) In the mind of Bears guard Kyle Long, football games are won and lost by who gets the upper hand in the trenches.
It’s with that in mind that Long speaks glowingly of the Bears’ recent reported hiring of Jeremiah Washburn as their new offensive line coach. Washburn previously worked with Bears coach John Fox in Carolina and most recently worked for the Dolphins as an assistant offensive line coach in 2016. He replaces Dave Magazu, whom the Bears fired at season’s end.
“I read Washburn was just hired, which is freakin’ huge,” Long said Wednesday on Mully and Hanley on 670 The Score. “I’ve met him a few times, and I know a lot of guys who have come and gone in Chicago who have played for him and speak very highly of him. He was in Miami. He was in Detroit. And as you guys know, the league is a small one, so people do get around.”
Long’s 2016 season was cut short, as he played in just eight games because of a right ankle injury that required surgery in late November. He’s been using crutches since and is currently “simulating walking,” he said.
From training camp on, Long also dealt with a torn labrum in his shoulder. He’ll get surgery on his shoulder on Feb. 2.
Long doesn’t believe he’ll have any lingering effects from his injuries when training camp opens in late July.
“I know I’ll be ready to go,” Long said. “I just got to get this shoulder surgery on the second of February. That will be quick. I think the thing that will really require a lot of TLC will be this ankle.”
While making clear his focus is on his rehab right now, Long also didn’t close the door to a shift back to tackle, a spot he manned in 2015 to mixed returns before returning to guard in 2016.
“Whatever position it is, I think Ryan (Pace) and John Fox fully understand that if they say ‘jump,’ I say, ‘How high?'” Long said.
Listen to Long’s full interview below.