ARLINGTON, Va. — Chris Long remains in limbo when pondering whether he’s played his last NFL game.
The veteran defensive end, 34, is still under contract with the Philadelphia Eagles but on Monday night alluded to conditions that could lead to his retirement after 11 seasons.
“I’m pretty undecided, but from the looks of things they’re going to make it hard for me in my favorite city,” Long told USA TODAY after hosting a town hall meeting for the Players Coalition at George Mason University’s Arlington campus. “We’ll see.”
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Although he didn’t delve into specifics, it seems likely that Long — who won Super Bowl championship rings in back-to-back seasons with the Patriots and Eagles — is contemplating whether to take a pay cut. According to Spotrac.com, the three-year contract he signed with the Eagles in 2017 was essentially a two-year, $4.5 million deal. The 2019 payout exceeds what he made over the entire first two years of the contract, calling for $5.5 million in salary and a roster bonus. If he doesn’t return in 2019, the Eagles would have a minimal cap hit of $300,000 in dead money.
Veteran defensive end Chris Long, 34, is still under contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. (Photo: Benny Sieu, USA TODAY Sports)
“In March, I really wanted to play,” said Long. “Now, I don’t know.”
It could be a few weeks before Long’s status is settled. The Eagles began Phase 1 of their offseason conditioning program last week, with organized team activities (OTAs) due to begin on May 21. A mandatory minicamp is slated to open on June 11.
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Long, with his third NFL team since being drafted second overall by St. Louis Rams in 2008, isn’t missing the job at this point. Yet without finality, that sentiment is subject to change.
“I definitely am not feeling like going to OTAs,” he said. “We’ll see what happens. If there’s any place that will make you try to do it again, it’s Philly. But it’s tough.”