Eagles

Howie Long to son Chris: 'You're going to love Philly'

Howie Long to son Chris: 'You're going to love Philly'

When your dad is a Hall of Famer, it can be kind of tough to live up to expectations.

"It's probably a little late in the game to get in the Hall of Fame," Chris Long said with a laugh. "My dad was a hell of a player and I'm very proud of him.

"I've always separated myself and just done my own thing, (been) my own man. I'm proud of what I've been able to accomplish in the league."

Long has 58 1/2 sacks in nine seasons, the first eight with the Rams and last year with the Patriots. From 2011 through 2013, his 33 sacks were eighth-most in the NFL.

But the last three years, injuries limited his playing time and effectiveness and he's totaled just eight more sacks. He signed a two-year, $4.8 million deal with the Eagles hoping to jump-start his career.

He said he doesn't mind the pressure and expectations that come with being a Hall of Famer's son since there have always been more positives than negatives.

"It's never easy, and expectations are certainly always there, but there's a lot of positive with that pressure, too," he said. "I've always embraced it. I think my dad's made me a better man and a better football player, so the positives outweigh the negatives of the pressure."

Howie Long, a second-round pick out of Villanova in 1981, was an eight-time Pro Bowl defensive end and a two-time first-team all-pro in a 13-year career with the Raiders.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000 when Chris Long was 15 years old.

Long was the second pick overall in 2008, behind only Michigan tackle Jake Long, taken first by the Dolphins.

Chris Long was in Philadelphia Friday and said his dad's only advice for him during the free-agent signing period was that he would love playing in Philly.

"My dad always supports me in everything I want to do," the younger Long said. "He's got a great football mind. I'll bounce things off him, but obviously, he's very supportive of it, and (playing in Philly) is one thing we can both agree on."

Chris Long's first game in college was a 44-14 Virginia win over Temple at the Linc, and his first game as a pro was a 38-3 Rams loss to the Eagles, also at the Linc.

"I lined up in front of Tra (Thomas) and I was like, 'What the hell did I get myself into?'" Long said. "I was chasing around Donovan McNabb all day. I think they hung 44 on us (actually 38).

"But all I could remember was the fight song, and I just remember thinking throughout my career, 'I really would love to play in a city like that, that's got that kind of atmosphere.

"And my dad was able to drive that home. He was like, 'You will love Philly, you'll love the people, you'll love the mentality, and having played in college there and having spent a lot of time there and played against the Eagles a lot in the NFL, he was like, 'Man, you'll love that city.'"

When it came to finding a good fit for his skill set, Long did all that work himself.

When it came to finding a city he would love to play in, that's where Howie got his point across.

"I figured out the football part to have my dad to drive home, 'You’re just going to love Philly,'" Long said. "That's kind of where he came in and gave me a little insight there."

DeSean Jackson says white teammates ‘stepped up’ with public statements

DeSean Jackson says white teammates ‘stepped up’ with public statements

Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz and Jason Kelce are among the group of Eagles who have released statements in the wake of George Floyd’s killing and subsequent protests around the country, using their platform to speak out against institutional racism and racial injustice. 

Speaking to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark on Tuesday, DeSean Jackson made it clear that he’s proud of his high-profile white teammates. 

They stepped up. They made their voice be heard,” Jackson said. “They used their platform, they used their resources, they used everything they could do to reach out and say I might not know what it feels like to be racially profiled, I might not know what it’s like to grow up in the inner communities and these areas that you guys face on a daily basis, where we’re scrutinized for the color of our skin. 

“They might not understand that, but they are stepping up to the plate and saying fair is fair and right is right and wrong is wrong. The stuff that we’ve been seeing is wrong. They don’t support that.

On Monday, during the Eagles’ virtual team meeting, Jackson gave such an impassioned speech about his own life and tribulations as a black man in the United States, that it motivated Kelce to speak up.

Kelce, one of the longest tenured players on the team, said he felt an obligation to post to social media after hearing Jackson’s message.  

“If I motivate him to step up and use his platform man, I appreciate that,” Jackson said. “At the end of the day, when I spoke, I spoke off of how I feel. I can’t change how my heart feels.” 

On Tuesday afternoon, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie released a statement of his own, saying he’s “repulsed” by racial injustice and vowing to use his platform to effect change. 

Lurie spoke to the entire team on Monday. His words and his statement meant a lot to Jackson. 

“You gotta think, the owners are billionaires. They have so much influence in the world,” Jackson said. “They have so much equity. They have so much power to where if they make a stance, the it’s gonna trickle down to the lower totem pole. I feel like a lot of times they go silent because it’s politics or they might lose this sponsor or they might look crazy in the light. But it’s like, none of that stuff can even come into your mind because we are dealing with people losing their lives. … 

“I feel like Jeffrey Lurie did a great job of speaking out and speaking up. Because I feel like if he does it, then you’re gonna have the rest of the other 31 owners and that’s going to trickle out to basketball owners, baseball owners. It has to be a trigger effect.”

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DeSean Jackson’s impassioned plea based on own experiences

DeSean Jackson’s impassioned plea based on own experiences

DeSean Jackson said he fears for his life every time he gets pulled over by police and said he understands the frustration the black community is experiencing today but also made an impassioned plea for unity and togetherness amid the violence, looting and hate.

In a powerful 30-minute interview with John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia, Jackson spoke bluntly about his own experiences with racism and his thoughts about how we as a country can move forward.

(Since I was) growing up as a kid, I can’t tell you anytime that I’m in the car and a police officer stops me or pulls me over how afraid I am that if I move wrong or I make a wrong gesture I might be shot and killed,” Jackson said. “It’s just built up so long of seeing senseless killings so it’s like every time I’m pulled over I’m afraid it might happen to me. And for me, I have three boys that I raised, and I can’t tell you how much I’m afraid for them to grow up in this world that we’re living in now. I have to protect them. I have to teach them on love and doing the right thing, but if you tell me that the people who are supposed to protect and serve us, they’re not serving and protecting us. I’ve seen a disturbing video where a lady was actually pulled over and she wasn’t African-American and the lady was frightened for her life. She was so scared. and the police officer was like, ‘You don’t have to worry about us killing you, we only kill black people.’

Just think being an African American person what that does to your mind. What that triggers. Every time you have an encounter. That’s why I’ve always felt the way I’ve felt that way about police. I can’t stand them. For so long we’ve always been messed with. If I’m driving a nice car and I get pulled over, for what? Excuse me, I’m not supposed to be driving this car? Oh, I look like I can’t afford this car? Why do I have to be profiled? … It’s crazy, man. I just feel bad for my kids they have to be raised in this era, man.

Jackson grew up in the Compton section of Los Angeles and said as bad as things were there, he’s even more scared now.

One hundred percent, man,” he said. “Growing up, police messed with us. Don’t get me wrong, they pulled you out of your car, they searched your car, they did all that stuff. But it’s a different fear I have now. The fear I had in the past was I have a chance of probably going to jail, I have a chance of them searching my car and planting some drugs or planting a gun. But now what I’m seeing is police killing. In the past five years or however many years it’s been, man, it’s hundreds and hundreds of killings. Senseless killings. I’m worried for my kids more than when I was growing up.

Jackson spoke about the high rate of crime and violence in black communities riddled by poverty, poor schools and chronic unemployment and how programs are needed to remedy the root of the problem.

“The opportunity is not there,” he said. “People are stuck in that zone that they’re in because we don’t have the opportunities. We don’t have our parents setting up mutual funds and money and investments for us so when we turn 18 we’re able to go out and start our own thing. We don’t have that. So that’s going to have people sitting in the hood and sitting in the corner store selling drugs and doing stuff and killing people because they have more than I have. It’s crazy. But that’s the issue that we’re dealing with. If we’re able to outreach and put programs in these (places) and develop a curriculum to help these kids out, you might not be able to save the whole world, but you might be able to save 100 lives, you might be able to save 200 lives. As long as you start somewhere. But right now we don’t have that.”

Jackson has always been active in the community, whether he was playing for the Eagles, Redskins or Buccaneers, and he said once he returns from Florida to Philadelphia he plans to be continue working to bring people together as much as possible.

“Don’t tear down the community,” he said. “Don’t destruct what we’ve built up so long to get to where we’re at now. Let’s figure out ways to come together, man. I just want to let everyone know I’m feeling the pain. I’m in pain. And were going to get through this. It might take time, but we’re going to get through it. Let’s do it together as one and everybody love. One love, one community, one race. We’re going to stick together for the better.”

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