Back in the 2016 offseason, the New England Patriots made an important free-agent signing when they landed Chris Long. The veteran and former No. 2 overall pick by the then-St. Louis Rams was set to enter his age-31 season and had his heart set on playing for a winner for the first time in his career.
However, Long did have a tough choice to make in free agency. As Nick Wright detailed on Fox Sports 1's "First Things First", he was deciding between the Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons in free agency before his father, Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long, ultimately advised him to go to the Patriots if he wanted to win.
Of course, the Patriots and Falcons would meet in the Super Bowl in Long's lone year with New England. Things weren't looking good for most of the game as the Patriots famously trailed 28-3 before making one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history to earn their fifth Super Bowl title.
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Was Long's decision to spurn the Falcons weighing on him at all in the early stages of the game? As Long explained on Wright's show, he was trying to focus on the game.
"It’s something more you reflect on afterwards," Long said. "It was pretty interesting to me as the smoke cleared that game, looking back and saying, 'Wow, it did come down to meeting in Atlanta with [Falcons coach] Dan Quinn and then popping up to New England.'
"But the good thing is, like most kids, we listen to our parents, but we kind of make decisions on our own," Long said. "So, I wouldn’t have blamed my dad. When I came from the Rams, we averaged four wins over eight years. And for me, I felt like my career was a bit of a waste without winning. So, I was ready to shamelessly do whatever it took as far as hopping on a team that had a good shot. You wanna call it ring chasing, whatever, but I feel better because the next year you can't call me a ring chaser deciding to go to Philly."
The elder Long certainly had to feel good about the end result; but as the younger Long pointed out, it was ultimately his decision to come to New England so there was no pressure on his father for giving advice anyway.
Long played a key role for the Patriots as a sub rusher. He totaled 35 tackles, four sacks, and a career-high three pass defenses in the regular season and helped keep the Patriots' primary edge players fresh during the Super Bowl run.
And off the field, Long meshed well with the Patriots locker room and brought a needed veteran presence to the team that helped them bring home another title.
Long would win another Super Bowl, this time beating the Patriots, the following year with the Philadelphia Eagles. He retired following that season the two rings to his name.