Joniak: Bears' Kyle Long Apologizes For Practice Fight

Long was the instigator in an altercation with rookie Jalen Dalton last week.

Jeff Joniak
August 20, 2019 - 6:23 pm
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LAKE FOREST (WBBM Newsradio) -- After three days off from practicing, the Bears were back at it Tuesday. Here are the notes and observations of the day.

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-- Due to the heavy rain, practice was in the Walter Payton Center. It's a game-week prep plan for the Colts, and the Bears have their eye on getting the conditioning and mental reps needed as they move toward the season opener against the Packers on Sept. 5.

-- Keeping it fresh is a constant battle to curb the monotony of preseason meetings and practices. With that in mind, Bears coach Matt Nagy is big on changing the tone when he feels the need. Taking the proper temperature of the team is one of his strengths.

-- Nagy set the tone for the day by answering more questions about how he reprimanded starting guard Kyle Long for instigation of a fight with rookie defensive lineman Jalen Dalton last week. "We’re past it," Nagy said. Nagy handled it internally, while Long apologized and promised to never let that happen again. "Don’t talk about it, be about it," said Nagy, who's holding Long accountable.  

-- Long returned to practice as he continues with what has been the best preseason of his career. He took ownership with the media to close the book on the unfortunate incident. "It was wrong, what I did," Long said. "In a lapse of judgment, that’s where I ended up and it reflected poorly on the organization, the city and the offensive line room."

-- Long is one of the team’s greybeards. He's the second-longest tenured player on the team after defensive back Sherrick McManis, so he has built up a lot of internal respect as one of the alpha’s on the team. "They’ve done a really good job allowing me to handle it internally and that’s been good," Long said. "The feedback has mostly been just ... 'show us,' and that’s what I intend to do."

-- Guard Cody Whitehair returned to practice after injuring his finger in the intrasquad practice game a week ago Wednesday. 

-- Swing tackles are getting a lot of reps, but Rashaad Coward had a setback with a recent elbow injury.

-- Nagy doesn't envision Long moving to tackle if one of the starters goes down. The Bears are prepared with other emergency options.

-- With Bradley Sowell just weeks away from potentially playing in the opener as a tight end, Nagy was asked how Sowell's move from tackle has worked. "I like where it’s at," Nagy said. "If we don’t have patience with him in this transition and there’s frustration with anything, then we have to check ourselves as coaches." The transition is a lot to digest for Sowell -- and that’s just the mental part of the game. Physically, he has lost about 40 pounds. It’s quite the makeover. 

-- In his third NFL seasons, Bears starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky celebrated his 25th birthday Tuesday. "We were going to sing happy birthday to him in the team meeting, but he did the thing where he put his head down and was embarrassed," Nagy said. If Trubisky experiences the "incremental growth" that Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace expect to see, he'll be one 25-and-under players to watch for a team with high expectations now and into the future.

-- Just for kicks, Jim McMahon was 26 when he helped lead the 1985 Bears to a win win in Super Bowl XX. Rex Grossman was 26 when the Bears lost to the Colts in SB XLI after the 2006 season. Ironically, those two and Trubisky all have August birthdays. McMahon turns 60 on Wednesday, while Grossman's 39th birthday is this Friday. 

Jeff Joniak is the play-by-play announcer for the Bears broadcasts on WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJoniak.