After eight playoff-less seasons with the Rams, Chris Long came to his father's hometown town -- the Patriots -- in 2016 with one goal: To win a championship. And he did, even though he wasn't an every-down player for the first time in his career.
Now his goal is to play regularly again. So he's headed to the city where his father played collegiately -- Philadelphia -- to try and make that happen.
Long, 32, the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long (a Charlestown native and Villanova product), signed a two-year contract with the Eagles Tuesday:
CSN Philly reports that Long isn't guaranteed a starting job on the Eagles' defensive line, but will be a valuable addition in any case:
The Eagles had a definite need -- and likely still do -- at defense end following the departure of Connor Barwin. . . . This signing doesn't mean Long will come in and start. The Eagles still have Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry under contract. But, at the very least, this is a depth signing to bring in a veteran locker room presence, like the one they lost when Barwin left.
Long had four sacks and 10 quarterback hits in 16 games for New England and was an integral part of a defense that allowed an NFL-low 250 points.
Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater has signed a two-year deal to return to the team, according to an ESPN's Mike Reiss.
Slater had made a free-agent visit to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday. The seven-time Pro Bowl special teams ace, who turns 33 in September, has spent the past 10 seasons in a New England. Slater, one of the veteran leaders in the locker room, signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract extension in 2016.
The Patriots traded with the Oakland Raiders for kick returner/wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson earlier this week to bolster their special teams.
A new catch rule is coming to the NFL.
So, controversies such as the Jesse James' touchdown reversal in the Steelers' loss to the Patriots in December and the Kelvin Benjamin call in the Bills-Pats game a week later likely would have resulted in upheld TDs under the new rule.
According to the Washington Post, Troy Vincent, the NFL VP of football operations, said competition committee members plan to propose getting rid of portions of the rule related to a receiver going to the ground while making a catch and to slight movement of the football while it’s in the receiver’s hands. Vincent also said the committee also intends to raise the bar by which an on-field ruling of a catch could be overturned via replay review.
That apparently was what was done in Super Bowl 52, when the Eagles' Corey Clement's juggling TD catch was not overturned via replay.
“We worked backward,” said Vincent told the Post. “We looked at plays and said: Do you want that to be a catch? And then we applied that to the rule.”
The rule modifications could be approved by the competition committee as early Tuesday, the Post reported, and owners will meet next week in Orlando to vote on it. Rule changes must be approved by at least 24 of the 32 franchises. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been pushing for the catch rule to be modified.