The confusion over Chris Long’s intentions cleared slightly when Long said at his St. Louis charity event Wednesday night that he was leaning toward playing this season. Then, on Thursday, Barstool Sports reported that Long had confirmed his return.
Long confirmed the Eagles have sweetened his contract, reportedly guaranteeing $2.5 million this year, but he explained that money wasn’t the only factor in his decision – as one might expect from a defensive end who donated his entire salary to charity last season.
“At my age, every year, it’s important to make a decision, and take self-inventory,” said Long, who will turn 33 on Wednesday. “Is your body there? Is your mind in it? Do you have the passion? Because it takes a lot. And, for me, just every year, I’m a year at a time. From here on out. For however long I play.
“Philly’s been awesome. … They kind of adopted me as like, family. So that definitely factors into everything. And the chance to repeat. I’m still supposedly ‘mulling it over,’ but I’m leaning on going back and playing.”
In an interview earlier this month, Long hinted that he was thinking of retirement after winning back-to-back Super Bowls with the Eagles and the Patriots. Long seemed concerned about his role; the Eagles brought in three-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Michael Bennett, and they are expected to seek a bigger role for last season’s first-round rookie, Derek Barnett.