LAKE FOREST – Even though there wasn’t a video of the incident, the descriptions weren’t pretty.
A scuffle, the ripping off of a helmet, which was then used it in a fight with a teammate before eventually throwing the helmet down the field.
“Just football. We’re out here beating each other up,” said Kyle Long of his fight with Jalen Dalton last Wednesday. “I just got a little frustrated and it boiled over, and it was really unfortunate.”
It’s something that went beyond the typical training camp dust-up, and the Bears knew that right away. So did the offensive guard, a leader on the team who acted quite uncharacteristically at this moment.
“Obviously what I did was absolutely unacceptable. As a human being, as a teammate,” said the Bears offensive lineman Tuesday in his first comments since his fight with Jalen Dalton last Wednesday. “Without question, what I did was uncalled for and absolutely so far over the line that it was on me to handle that internally and speak to the people that I needed to speak to and I’ve done that.”
An apology that was delivered to the team following the fight, though it wasn’t enough for Long to avoid punishment. He didn’t travel to East Rutherford, New Jersey for the Bears’ second preseason game against the Giants.
That wasn’t of much consequence since long likely wouldn’t have played much anyway. But from the beginning, Long knew that he’d made a mistake to which he’d have to make amends.
“It’s immediate. The immediate regret. Like I talked about, an immediate lapse in judgment,” said Long. “I cost myself a lot of equity – personal equity – and people don’t like to see stuff like that. It does not feel good to be the one that’s responsible for that.
“I’m trying to take ownership of it and move forward and all I can do today is show up and be the man that I know that I am and stack those days together.”
It’s a weird place for Long to be, considering that he’s been one of the consistent voices in the locker room during three different coaching eras. The three-time Pro Bowl selection was finally healthy the entire offseason and looked to shake off a couple of injury-filled seasons in 2019.
By all accounts, things were going well in training camp until the incident last Wednesday, and Long understands the impact it may have made on his teammates.
“As you know, this is a league about action, it’s not a league about talking about it,” said Long. “So the thing I need to continue to do is go out on a day-to-day basis and try to prove to the men in this locker room who don’t know me very well or who have some questions about my character and just try to move forward and prove to them the man I am on a daily basis.
“It was wrong what I did and a lapse of judgment, and that’s where I ended up. It reflected poorly on the organization, the city, and the offensive line room and that was never my intention. Moving forward, I intend to make living amends.”
So how have his teammates taken it so far?
“They’ve done a really good job of allowing me to handle it internally and that’s been good,” said Long. “The feedback has mostly been just ‘Show Us,’ so that’s what I intend to do.”
He’ll have plenty of time to do so.