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My bad, Kyle Long

By Gabe Salgado

For RedEye

5:24 PM CDT, October 27, 2013

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Despite the recent string of injuries on the Bears roster, there are still good things happening with this team. One is a much improved offense, currently ranked 14th in the NFL.

The main reason why the offense has performed so well is a rebuilt offensive line that has kept quarterbacks upright, cut down on sacks allowed (only 11 so far) and cleared a path for the running game (averaging 112.9 yards per game).

One member of that line is rookie Kyle Long. He's only seven weeks into his first year but has already built quite the resume. He took over as the starting right guard during the preseason and has held the job ever since.

I tip my hat to you, Mr. Long, I also owe you an apology. When general manager Phil Emery drafted you in April, I was skeptical about the selection. Your lack of college experience at the position was a hard sell. And I wasn't too impressed with what I saw at the rookie minicamp in May.

Your family name is associated with NFL greatness. But after you missed the full team minicamps and OTAs, I felt it would take a lot longer for you to live up to that greatness.

Now while I understand your academic commitments at Oregon kept you from participating in the summer workouts, I honestly believed at that time that your development would be affected.

Thank you for proving me (and other doubters) wrong. You have had one of the better rookie seasons in Bears history. It's not often rookie offensive linemen make such an impact, but you have done just that.

You picked up on coach Marc Trestman's offense right away, your technique is way ahead of most rookie linemen, and you have given Bears fans plenty of highlight reel material. On top of that, you have stood out as one of the leaders of this franchise.

Therefore, I sincerely apologize for ever doubting you.

Sincerely,

This Humble Sportswriter

Gabe Salgado is a RedEye special contributor.

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