The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Local Sports

July 22, 2013

NFL injury risk has Hall-of-Fame dad concerned for rookie son

Kyle Long is going into the family business. "Some people are third-generation carpenters, and that's what they do," his father says. "Well, we hit people." So it's a good thing Kyle is shaped like a bullet, a streamlined 6 feet 6, 313 pounds, broad at the base, narrowing to a cleanly shaved head. His skull is so shiny and hard that it reassures his parents, Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long and his wife, Diane. "It's like a double helmet," his mother says.

On a late June afternoon, Kyle sat in an Aurora, Ohio, auditorium alongside other National Football League draftees, young men of differing heights, masses and shapes filling up seats like rows of giant newly sprung wildflowers. They were gathered for the league's annual rookie symposium, a mandatory orientation consisting mainly of lectures on how not to become the NFL's latest casualties. It's a topic Kyle already has been tutored on by his father, an iconic defensive end for the Raiders organization from 1981 to '93, who at the age of 53 has had 13 surgeries.

"Keep your head on a swivel," he warns his son.

Kyle, 24, a promising offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears, was one of 254 rookies who listened attentively as symposium speakers advised them on everything from baby mamas to saying "no" to friends seeking loans. But much of the talk was devoted to the legal and ethical crisis that haunts the modern NFL: player health and safety. With training camps opening this week, the league Kyle enters is in mid-transformation as it attempts to reform a variety of practices, from medical treatment to a play-through-pain culture to equipment. It's a game in some ways dramatically changed from his father's primitive era. "They had salad bowls for helmets," Kyle says.

Text Only
Local Sports
  • holdendavis.jpg Stanly All-Star 15 year-olds lose in championship finals

    The Stanly County 15 year-old All-Stars Babe Ruth Baseball team battled its way through the losers’ bracket after suffering a 10-9 loss to the Union County Americans to reach the championship finals.
    Stanly rallied to force a deciding third game but Union County prevailed to earn a trip to the regionals in Varina, Virginia.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • stanly14group.jpg Stanly All-Stars reach state championship round

    The Stanly 14 year-old All-Stars played in the state tournament this weekend at Noel Williams Park in Unionville and reached the championship round of play.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • stanly13bigger.jpg Stanly County 13-year old Babe Ruth Baseball squad claims state title

    Don Montgomery Park in Albemarle played host this weekend to the state championship tournament for the Western Divsion of Babe Ruth Baseball for 13 year olds.
    After having started with a win Friday night over Union County American, the Stanly County All-Stars posted three more victories en route to the tournament title and a berth into the regionals starting July 29 in Sarasota, Florida.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • West Stanly summer baseball team wraps up regular season at Scotland County

    In the final two games of the Central Carolina Scholastic Summer League for the West Stanly squad, the Colts traveled to Scotland County for a doubleheader, making up for Tuesday’s rainout.

    July 22, 2014

  • jakeclayton.jpg Three Stanly All-Star Babe Ruth teams open play in state tournaments

    Three Babe Ruth Baseball teams from Stanly County  began play in their respective state tournaments on Friday night with victories, two of which came in events conducted locally.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Albemarle High School athletic director resigns

    The athletic program at Albemarle High School will undergo another change in personnel after the recent resignation of its head football coach.

    July 17, 2014

  • deanlowder.jpg Albemarle fireman and policeman race in school buses at Charlotte Motor Speedway

    Pulling into Charlotte Motor Speedway, the first thing one may think about is getting in one of those really fast cars and taking a spin around the track.
    Cracking the motor, hearing the roar, tearing down the front stretch at 200 mph with numerous other cars doing the same. The rush, excitement and adrenaline pumping all while maintaining focus and poise as you power the aggressive vehicle around the track.

    July 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • williams.jpg North Stanly's Antonio Williams decommits to UNC-Chapel Hill

    North Stanly standout running back Antonio Williams announced via Twitter on Saturday he has withdrawn his verbal committment to attend and play football at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • bobcat.jpg Uwharrie Bobcats suffer loss, bounce back for home victory

    The Uwharrie Bobcats 70+ slow pitch softball team, along with four other Piedmont Senior Slow Pitch League (PSSL) teams, participated in a league tournament at Rock Creek Park Saturday.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • curciomug2014.jpg Can you really go home again?

    The big news that flashed across the screens of smartphones, tablets, laptops, computers and televisions on Friday concerned the return of NBA star Lebron James to Cleveland after four years in Miami.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

Facebook
Twitter Updates
Seasonal Content