Over the weekend, Philadelphia Eagles defensive end and former New England Patriot Chris Long formally announced his retirement from football.
Long played 11 seasons in the NFL, eight with the St. Louis Rams, one with the Patriots, and two with the Eagles.
On Instagram Monday, Julian Edelman shared a funny congratulatory message, sharing a locker room photo from 2016 of Long wearing an eerily similar mask of Edelman’s face.
“Going to miss this guy being in the league. He was Great teammate, and even better example of how to be a pro. His ability to be involved with the community is second to none. The father he is and family man he is everything! He made the game more fun. All this said, still my second favorite Long. Love ya bubs and congrats on an amazing career!” Edelman wrote in a caption.
Kyle Van Noy also shared his congratulations.
Speaking with NBC Sports’ Peter King, Long reflected back on his time with the Patriots, mainly head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.
“In New England, I learned so much about football. I always thought I was a smart player, even though I never thought about anything but the six inches in front of my face. In New England, I was forced to learn so many schematic concepts. In my career playing football, nobody asked me to do as much as Bill Belichick did. I might be 3-technique, or a linebacker, or a linebacker dropping into coverage more than ever, or playing inside more than ever. I’ll always remember how much I learned watching Bill in practice. He can coach any position as good as any position coach in league. He can walk around the field and stop drills and coach each position—at the highest level. And the quality of the dudes. Solid men. The right kind of people.
Long later went on to say, “Tom Brady blew me away. Who’s the most famous athlete of our generation: Tom Brady? LeBron? Messi? Ronaldo? Serena Williams? Maybe I haven’t been around enough to know how the biggest stars really act. But Brady is a normal guy. When I got there, here comes Tom. ‘Hey Chris, I’m Tom, nice to meet you.’ Well, yeah, I know you’re Tom. A lot of people want to hate him for all the success, and I understand how you can dislike the Patriots, but I cannot understand how you can dislike Tom.”
Long walks away from the NFL with 70.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles and 338 tackles and two Super Bowl rings (New England 2016 and Philadelphia 2017).