The Chicago Bears placed former Pro Bowl right guard Kyle Long on injured reserve with an injured hip, the team announced Monday. With this move, Long has now landed on injured reserve in each of the past four seasons. He managed to return in Week 17 of the 2018 season and started in the wild-card loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, and it's within the realm of possibility that he again returns late this season.
This year was supposed to be different for the former Oregon Duck standout, who was healthy enough to participate in the off-season program and training camp. Drafted 20th overall by the Bears in 2013, Long missed just one game over his first three seasons, he has since appeared in just 30 regular-season games since 2016. He suffered a gruesome ankle injury in 2016 that cost him the final eight games that year and the first two games of the 2017 season. Long ended up missing six games in 2017 with a variety of ailments including undergoing neck, shoulder, and elbow surgeries in the off-season. He returned in time to start the Bears first seven games of the 2018 season before being shut down once again until his return in the last week of the season.
While Long opened the regular season in good shape, he suffered a hip injury during practice leading up to the game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 29. He was inactive for that game but returned to the starting lineup against the Oakland Raiders in London on Oct. 6. The Bears decided recently on their bye week that they would be better off with Long on injured reserve.
"There’s wear and tear,” coach Matt Nagy said Monday. “He’s been in the league a little while, too. You get some of that. It’s soemthing that, for him, for where were are at, it was the best decision that we can make. These are decisions that we can make. It was collaborative for all of us.”
Long took a pay cut in the offseason and is only under contract through 2020. With his injury history and contract status, it's time to prepare for the possibility that we've seen the last of Kyle Long in a Chicago Bears uniform.