The New York Jets have reportedly spoken with former Chicago Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long about ending his retirement to sign with the team, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported Friday.
However, Long says there's no truth to the report, per Rick Tarsitano of WGN.
Long retired in January after seven years with the Bears, who selected him out of Oregon with the 20th overall pick in the 2013 draft.
The 31-year-old Virginia native enjoyed a strong start to his career. He started 47 of the team's 48 regular-season games across his first three seasons, ranking ninth among all offensive linemen in approximate value over that span, per Pro Football Reference.
Injuries have derailed his career since the start of the 2016 season, though. The 6'6", 322-pound guard missed 34 games over the past four years, including 12 absences in 2019 with a hip injury that ultimately landed him on injured reserve.
He appeared on the RapSheet + Friends podcast (via Alyssa Barbieri of BearsWire) in January and said he referred to his decision as more of a hiatus than a finalized retirement, but he knew it was time to step away after reviewing the film from when he was healthy enough to play.
"It was the easiest decision I've ever made," he said. "Because I didn't recognize the guy on film. I was an ass-kicker. ... There became a point where I couldn't do that anymore."
Long also shot down the idea of coming back to play for another team.
"I'll never wear another set of colors than navy and orange," he said.
If the Jets can convince him to make a comeback, he'd likely take over for Alex Lewis as the team's starter at left guard. Lewis received a lackluster 56.1 overall grade from Pro Football Focus in 2019; Long's grade in four starts was a 38.0.
New York could also shift Brian Winters to the left side to allow Long to play his more accustomed position of right guard.