Bears guard Kyle Long apologizes for behaviour during fight

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Chicago Bears guard Kyle Long took it too far and knew it.

Long had already apologized to teammates for a practice fight last Wednesday night at Halas Hall in which he removed the helmet of rookie Jalen Dalton and began using it as a hammer. On Tuesday, he also apologized to Bears fans and media members.

“Obviously what I did was absolutely unacceptable as a human being,” Long said. “As a teammate, without question, what I did was uncalled for and absolutely so far over the line.

“It was on me to handle it internally and speak to the people I needed to speak to. I’ve done that.”

Long, the son of Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long, was not allowed to take the trip to New Jersey for Friday’s preseason game with the New York Giants. He began practicing again Tuesday with the team and the Bears are keeping further disciplinary action confidential.

“It was wrong what I did, and in a lapse of judgment, that’s where I ended up,” Long said. “And it reflected poorly on the organization, the city, the offensive line room and that was never my intention.

“Moving forward I intend to make amends.”

Bears coach Matt Nagy had said on Monday that Long apologized to the team and coaches.

“We’re past it,” Nagy said. “Now it’s not about talking anymore. For us, it’s about everybody showing what we can do.

“It’s showing by your actions, whether that’s being a good football player or being a good person. I always tell my kids: ‘Don’t talk about it; be about it.’ So it’s time to start being about it.”

The successful training camp and off-season Long has enjoyed compared to some recent ones made the eruption somewhat surprising. Long hasn’t been healthy and able to participate fully in all off-season and preseason work the past three seasons, but has called this one of his best camps.

Nagy pointed out the position’s nature lends itself to occasional bouts of frustration.

“I’m not surprised because those guys are in the trenches every day banging and sometimes for certain reasons you get triggered and things happen,” Nagy said. “But that’s where we’ve got to be mentally strong, be mentally mature and get past that part.”

Yet, Nagy made it clear the behaviour won’t be tolerated.

“Our guys know it,” Nagy said. “If there was a lot of malicious intent or it continues to keep happening, then I even have more decisions to make.”

The incident had been the third fight in three practices and the second one involving Long. Defensive end Akiem Hicks and Long also engaged in a post-play shoving match after a play in the team’s final training camp practice at Bourbonnais.

“I think the Akiem-and-I thing, that’s the nature of two giants getting frustrated with each other over the course of time,” Long said. “Akiem and I are good buddies. But when we’re on the field he’s trying to get the quarterback and I’m trying to put him 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage.

“He understands that and I understand that. Sometimes we get frustrated. It’s like siblings. We bicker or we push each other around.”

Nagy has refused to use starters much — if at all — in preseason games. The first-team offence has been on the field three plays.

Long admitted sometimes it gets frustrating facing only the same teammates in practice this late into the preseason, and players wouldn’t mind facing a different opponent.

“I think there are two separate conversations,” Long said. “What I was involved with last week was unacceptable regardless of who we practice against or who we play against, what line of work you’re in, regardless.

“But I will say that there is some merit to the fact that we want to (face) other people. We love each other. We enjoy practicing against each other, but it will be nice to see some other people.”

NOTES: Guard Cody Whitehair returned to practice after a finger injury last Wednesday. … Tackle Rashaad Coward remained sidelined with an elbow injury and outside linebacker Aaron Lynch is still missing practice with a shoulder injury. … Defensive end Jonathan Bullard was at practice but did not participate. No reason was provided by the Bears.

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