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Chris Long Conference Call Transcript 4/7

Patriots defensive end Chris Long addresses the media during his conference call on Thursday, April 7, 2016.


Q: Have you had a chance to reach out to other members of the Patriots defensive line and get their thoughts on how they're used here?

CL: Well sure, yeah, I've talked to a few guys. Danny Amendola's one of my good buddies so he definitely filled me in on what the culture is like, what a great place it is. And then also I spoke a lot with Rob Ninkovich since my signing. He reached out to me, was very welcoming. I talked to Jabaal [Sheard] as well briefly and just told him how excited I am to join their group and excited to get to work. I respect those guys' games a whole lot. I respect everybody on that defense and I'm just excited to be a piece of the puzzle.

Q: How surprised were you to get the call from the Patriots and how much of a factor were injuries over the previous few seasons for you?

CL: I was very open-minded when it came to my free agency situation this year. Obviously, the Rams felt it was time to move in a different direction. I wasn't bent out of shape about it. It was time to move on for me as well. A fresh start is great and I just wanted an opportunity to win, and an opportunity to be a part of something like this organization is great, and having the opportunity when it came about I was very excited. I knew it was where I wanted to be and if things fell into place for me I would be excited. So certainly, it's a blessing and I guess that it's an opportunity - I've used that word over and over again - I've got a lot to earn and I can't wait to prove myself. The last two years I've made no excuses about it. I feel very good right now and that's all I can say.

Q: Given your father's connection to the area, do you feel that you have any ties to this region?

CL: It's certainly cool to go back and play somewhere where my Dad grew up. There's a lot to his story coming out. To me, it's not some place I had visited a whole lot when I was a kid but I've been there and just as much as anything, on a personal level, I'm just excited to be a part of such a great sports town, sports city. I can't think of a better fan base or collection of great pro sports teams and how passionate these fans are about football, but also with the Celtics, and the Bruins, and the Red Sox. They love all their teams. They've won championships in everything in the past several years so it's a special thing to be a part of. The family thing is real cool and I'm sure as I get up there some things that I hadn't anticipated form a family standpoint will kind of develop in a great way and I might meet some people that say, "Hey I went to high school with your pops", or are mutual friends. That's part of it and it's very cool to me but the sports city part of it I'm really excited about. Just from the day I was lucky enough to sign, the fans, the outreach on social media, and the excitement - you can really feel it.

Q: What do you recall about your father's Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2000 when the Patriots were a part of the opening preseason game?

CL: I do have great memories from when my pops got inducted. Obviously, knowing him and knowing how hard he worked in pro football for so long and what he sacrificed, the physical side of it, the injuries, and the grinding and now eight years into the NFL you know what hard work that is. For him doing it for 13 years at the level that he did, even as a 13-year-old kid when it happened, I understood the magnitude of what that meant for somebody professionally. And yeah, I faintly remember the game but I was just so focused on just helping my Dad enjoy that moment. I was just very proud of him and that's a special thing.

Q: How difficult has it been to be a spectator during the playoffs year in and year out?

CL: The last eight years have been difficult. I'm certainly motivated to be the best me I can be and try to help. When I entered free agency, I said whatever team I end up on, I'm going to work. I've worked as hard as humanly possible over the last eight years but I'm going to find the next gear, whatever it is. I'm very energized by just being a part of this thing. The past eight years is the past and the future's unwritten. It's unwritten for 32 teams coming up and everybody's got to earn it and everybody individual has to earn opportunities. So, for me the history - my history in the league, those eight years - it was rough but there are a lot worse things I could be doing in the world. I look at the opportunity to play football as a blessing and I think what doesn't kill you certainly makes you stronger.

Q: Do you have any thoughts on what it is like to join the team along with some other high-profile veteran names in the same offseason?

CL: It's interesting. You look around and you're certainly overwhelmed with excitement to be a part of something like the New England Patriots, and then when you see more guys added of their caliber it's exciting. We'll see. I'm sure the entire team chemistry seems awesome so I don't know why those guys wouldn't be great as well and everybody will mesh well. We're all working towards the same goal.

Q: As a couple of Villanova alumni, how much did your parents enjoy the championship game this past Monday night?

CL: They were psyched. As a Virginia guy, I had this emotional hangover for like five days after we lost to Syracuse so it cleared up just in time that I could kind of pick myself up off the floor and root for my parents' alma mater, and kill two birds with one stone because they beat UNC and I don't mind that at all. My parents were just super excited. I work out with my Dad a couple of times per week on football stuff and when he showed up this Tuesday morning he had his Villanova gear on. He doesn't pull out the Villanova gear much but he was very proud.

Q: What differences do you see in the Patriots' defensive scheme from whatever scheme you played over the past eight seasons?

CL: I just think I know what I've been a part of over the last eight years. I've been a part of five different defenses. I can't say how different or similar it is to anything. I know I have great respect for what they do defensively and I'll learn a lot more about it as the summer goes on, and I'm coming to this team very open-minded and just excited to have the opportunity so I'm not making any - I can't really refer to any differences or similarities - I'm just excited about having an opportunity.

Q: Have you had to drop into coverage much in your career and do you anticipate having to do that here as an end-of-the-line player?

CL: Again, I have no idea what my role is going to be and I'm very open minded as to however I can help the team. If they want me to do something I've never done before, great. I have dropped [in coverage] but it's not something I've worked at strong or anything. I'm kind of showing up April [18]th focused on day one of offseason workouts and treating it like a clean slate. Whatever I'm asked to do, I'm going to attack it full steam ahead. It's not a matter of predicting what I'm going to be asked to do or not asked to do. I have dropped before but it's not like I've worked on it in anticipation for anything.

Q: How were you able to get through the past two seasons dealing with injury and how can that help you going forward?

CL: Well, like I said earlier, I don't make any excuses for the last two years. The past is the past. Anything in football whether it's the highs or the lows, the experiences, if it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger. I think after eight years I'm a pretty strong person mentally. I'm so hungry to be a part of this organization and be a contributing part. The last eight years, all the experiences - not just the bad, the good - they make you who you are. I like who I am right now and I'm excited and I think that I can bring a lot to the table to help the team and I'm eager to help this organization in any way I can. Part of that is certainly the hunger and everything from the last eight years but it's the past.

Q: What was your reaction to Chandler Jones reaching out to you on Twitter to congratulate you on signing here?

CL: Yeah, I thought that was great. This is a profession of respect. Everybody respects each other. You should because it takes a certain type of person to put pads on and play every Sunday. It's a man's game so we have a lot of respect for each other. I respect Chandler's game so much. I've met Chandler before after a game where we played them - I think it was in London - I made it a point to tell him how much I respect his game. I know Chandler and he's a heck of a player and it's just how things shook out. I don't read into anything but he's a classy guy and I thought that was real cool. 140 characters doesn't sum it up sometimes but it's nothing but respect for that guy and I know he's going to do great wherever he continues to be in his career. I haven't settled on a number yet. I've got some ideas but that'll probably get figured out here soon.

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