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May 20, 2019

Eagles release video tribute to retired Chris Long, who calls Philly 'best sports city'

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Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long called it career this weekend after 11 seasons in the NFL, including two Super Bowl titles and earning the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.

Sometimes lost in the championship glory at the end of Long's career are the brutal eight seasons he spent with the St. Louis Rams after making it to the NFL.

Long wrote an extended reflection Monday on his career in Peter King's "Football Morning in America," noting how difficult the first stretch of his career was: 

I learned so much in my career. Getting drafted second overall, and going to St. Louis, and the fact that we were losing, I just thought, I am not gonna fold. I am not a loser. I am gonna be a bright spot. I am gonna give these fans, who I deeply appreciate for their dedication, the respect they deserve. Anyone playing in that era in St. Louis knows how bad it was at times. It was carnage, in so many ways. It was a test of my will. 

Long, 34, said he decided to retire because the Eagles simply couldn't offer him the kind of high-impact role he wanted. If he returned next season, he was slotted as more of a "player-coach" with limited snaps. 

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The time Long spent in Philadelphia, however, convinced him that it's the best sports city in the United States:

Going to Philadelphia, I felt I found a home. Best sports city in America. But how different my situation was. I went from team captain with the Rams two years before that to winning the Super Bowl in New England to starting on the bottom in Philly. I was an average Joe. I was challenged. I learned how much being a team, being together, really means.

On Monday afternoon, the Eagles tweeted a highlights package featuring some of Long's most outstanding moments in Philadelphia. 

Long has been a vocal leader on the Eagles and an exemplar off it. It's tough to accept that the defensive line may struggle without his contributions, but Long is the kind of player and person whose life after football will be well worth following.