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  1. #1
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    Good Chris Long write-up

    Dolphins could take Howie Long's son with top pick
    BY JEFF DARLINGTON
    Posted on Wed, Feb. 20, 2008

    The kid went to bed with football in his dreams, which meant it was time for his parents to have a talk.

    So together in their Virginia home nearly 10 years ago, Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long and his wife began discussing a seemingly reasonable request made earlier that evening from their oldest of three sons.

    Chris Long, a top defensive prospect with the potential to become the Dolphins' first-overall pick in April's NFL Draft, then simply wanted to go out for the youth football team. But his dad, one of the best defensive players the NFL has ever seen, figured it would never actually work out.

    ''Why don't we just let him try it?'' Howie said to his wife, Diane. ``He's going to get his nose bloodied tomorrow at practice, and he's going to come home and never play again! It'll be fine.''

    As Chris now tells this story a decade later, recalling the conversation the way his famous father often tells it to him, he's also wolfing down a premeasured portion of vegetable soup from a container at the Parisi Speed School in New Jersey, where he's training for this week's NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

    Suddenly, though, in between impressively rapid and rhythmic bites, he stops his spoon-to-mouth stride. Chris sharply lifts his head up so that it's no longer buried in the soup, as if finally realizing the punch line after all these years.

    ``You were wrong, Dad!''

    The four people in the room, none of whom was actually his father, burst into a moment of laughter. After all, it's no doubt amusing that Chris' famous dad, who makes a living as an NFL analyst for Fox, was dead wrong with this analysis.

    Tough enough? Yes, Chris Long is definitely that.

    VERY TOUGH

    When Long arrives at the combine Friday, he'll attempt to prove he's also tough enough to merit the Dolphins' first-overall selection. Many are already projecting it as a strong possibility. And those closest to him know why.

    ''Off the field, he's a great guy to be around, real laid back,'' said former Virginia quarterback Chris Olsen, who remains one of Long's best friends. ``But on the field, he's the most intense person I've ever seen. People always talk about his dad's intensity. It sounds crazy, but I honestly couldn't see his father being any more intense than Chris was during college.''

    No doubt, Long's senior season at Virginia made for a proud father, who was known for his toughness, intensity and versatility.

    Last year, the first-team All-American defensive end racked up 14 sacks and 79 tackles in his best season. His fierce style was a hit with everyone except his opponents, eventually even leading the school to retire his number during the last home game of the season.

    But those things don't have an impact on the next level, Long says. That chapter is done. Now, Long realizes there's another task ahead.

    ''I just want to blow this Combine up with great numbers and show what I can do,'' Long said. ``The rest will take care of itself. I want to be the best I can in each drill. I'm a day-to-day type of guy, and I want to prove I'm willing to exhaust my potential.''

    He also wants to continue proving something else: That his father's football legacy no longer casts an unwelcome shadow on his own career -- but rather provides a beneficial resource to his ability to improve.

    That's not the way it's always been for this father-and-son tandem. Although they've always been close, they often have tried to veer away from talking about the careers of one another. The dad wanted his sons to create their own opportunities, and Chris wanted the chance to do the same.

    ''I used to mind it,'' the son said. ``You never want to be somebody that's given anything. You don't want to appear to be that kid who is just resting on his laurels or doing things because of who his dad is. When I wasn't established, I didn't want to talk about it. But now, I'm proud of my dad.

    ``I've grown a lot, and I can say I'm proud of him. I use him as a resource.''

    They became so close, actually, that they would sit down every Monday or Tuesday night after each Virginia game and break down ways to help Chris' game. And recently, the father even visited him at the Parisis Speed School to watch him go through his conditioning drills.

    ''It was neat because a lot of dads don't show up to watch that,'' said Martin Rooney, the school's director who also trains Chris. ``Here, [Howie] got into the drills. He was doing them with us! Any dad that shows up, a lot of times they'll be critiquing their son and you can tell the kid is just ready to tell him to be quiet.

    ``But they don't have that type of relationship.''

    Not even close. Chris now even boasts about his dad's continued athleticism. (''I can't make fun of him too much for being old,'' he said.) The son also says he's noticed that his father has become much more comfortable enjoying the current situation.

    ''My dad is overly cautious about giving everybody a fair opportunity to do whatever they want,'' Chris said. ``If I decided I wanted to be a painter, he would have said paint away. But he's proud that I've been able to be successful to this point.''

    At this week's combine, it's likely his son's preparations will make his dad even prouder -- while continuing to also help Chris continue to create his own legacy. Rooney said the preparations leading up to the combine have gone incredibly well, which could lead many to soon realize the prospect's potential is the real deal.

    Chris looks powerful and lean. He's a tough player with obvious intelligence, all qualities that fit precisely into what the Dolphins are searching for. He's also versatile, but he believes he would be a solid fit at outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, which Miami is likely to run next season.

    ''I'm open to try anything,'' he said. ``But from what I hear, if I was playing in a 3-4, I'd get some looks at outside linebacker, which I'd be excited about.''

    None of those things, however, matter to Chris at this point. Not now. Not yet.

    Instead, he isn't focusing on his past accolades or his future plans. At this point, the son of a Hall of Famer is focused on succeeding at this week's combine. That's because with a solid week in Indianapolis, he could finally begin to prove he has what it takes to play football.

    Even if his Hall of Fame father once thought otherwise.

    ''This is a chance to show I'll do whatever it takes,'' said Chris, who plans on being tested in every drill this week. ``I want to show these guys who I am -- for better or for worse. Hopefully, though, it's for the better.''

    MORE TALKS

    As former Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas' free-agent tour continues Wednesday in New Orleans, where he will meet with the Saints, the Patriots held talks with yet another former Dolphins castaway Tuesday. Wide receiver Marty Booker met with the Patriots in New England. Neither Thomas nor Booker has agreed to a deal.


  2. #2
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    Re: Good Chris Long write-up

    Chris looks powerful and lean. He's a tough player with obvious intelligence, all qualities that fit precisely into what the Dolphins are searching for. He's also versatile, but he believes he would be a solid fit at outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, which Miami is likely to run next season.

    ''I'm open to try anything,'' he said. ``But from what I hear, if I was playing in a 3-4, I'd get some looks at outside linebacker, which I'd be excited about.''
    If 3-4 OLB is an option, this kid must have dropped 20+ pounds since the bowl game. He played in the mid 280's, and was rather lean then. Where in the world did he FIND 20 pounds to lose. Otherwise, I'm just not sure a 280 lb. OLB will be as effective as some might think. But if speed is what he's looking for, Parisi's school is the place to get it.

    I'm real curious to see what he weighs in at in Indy. If he's in the 260's & runs sub-4.75, he may be standing up in the NFL.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: Good Chris Long write-up

    Just relaying what I heard on sports talk radio this AM....a guy who plays O line for the Vikings, Mike something.....said he didn't think Chris Long was strong enough to be a number one draft pick. Thought most T's in the NFL could handle him. Said Dorsey was the only D player who should go #1.

    Not me saying it, just relaying what I heard.

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    Re: Good Chris Long write-up

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan View Post
    Just relaying what I heard on sports talk radio this AM....a guy who plays O line for the Vikings, Mike something.....said he didn't think Chris Long was strong enough to be a number one draft pick. Thought most T's in the NFL could handle him. Said Dorsey was the only D player who should go #1.

    Not me saying it, just relaying what I heard.
    I wonder how Mike Something (that's an unfortunate last name if I ever heard one) would know anything about the strength of either Long or Dorsey?
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  5. #5
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    Re: Good Chris Long write-up

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan View Post
    a guy who plays O line for the Vikings, Mike something
    Matt Birk? I don't think the Vikings have a "Mike" on the roster for their offensive line.

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    Re: Good Chris Long write-up

    I don't know, he plays O line right now in the NFL. I take he knows just as much as someone who has never played in the NFL.

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    Re: Good Chris Long write-up

    I'll put it this way, if any of us know the names of the Vikings O line....we need new hobbies.


    LOL

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    Re: Good Chris Long write-up

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan View Post
    I'll put it this way, if any of us know the names of the Vikings O line....we need new hobbies.

    LOL
    You wouldn't be the first person to tell me this.

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    Re: Good Chris Long write-up

    He either plays or played but he's on every morning. I'll find out tomorrow and let everyone know.

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    Re: Good Chris Long write-up

    LT Brian Mckinnie, LG Steve Hutchinson, apparently C Matt Birk, RG Anthony Herrera, RT does Adam Goldberg still play there?

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    Re: Good Chris Long write-up

    OK OK.....Like I said I'll listen tomorrow and find out if he's a former or still player....

    When you young bucks enter your 40's and can remember everything that is happening around you PLUS concentrate on your job.....strike that up to good living.

    Me, I was a rebel in my younger years and still haven't necessarily grown up so forgive me if I can't EXACTLY remember every person I hear on the radio.


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    Re: Good Chris Long write-up

    Quote Originally Posted by txramsfan View Post
    I'll put it this way, if any of us know the names of the Vikings O line....we need new hobbies.


    LOL
    60s had hippies, 70s had disco, 80s had parachute pants, 90s had the Clintons, 00s has the Patriots, now we have Viking lineman memorizing.

    Every decade had some fad that is sure to pass.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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