Bears first-round pick Kyle Long won’t be able to practice during the current OTAs (organized team activities) or next month’s full-team mandatory minicamp because school is still in session at Oregon.
But he is under contract.
Long, a 6-foot-6, 318-pound guard, was the last of the team’s six draft picks to sign, when he and the Bears agreed Friday night to a four-year contract with an option year.
The 20th overall selection in last month’s draft, Long is expected to challenge for the starting job at right guard, where he lined up during last week’s rookie minicamp. His absence over the next few weeks isn’t expected to hurt his chances to compete.
James Brown, an undrafted rookie last season who started the final three games at left guard, lined up at right guard with the first team during Tuesday’s OTA.
Long and Bears coaches will be in contact through Skype and other technology.
“Kyle is a very smart guy,” said coach Marc Trestman. “We know he’s going to dig in and do everything he can to get himself ready — not just physically, but mentally — as we get to our veteran minicamp and the training camp. I think it’s a minimal obstacle and nothing we can’t handle. The opportunity to embrace it and get it done is something we’re up to or we wouldn’t have made the pick.”
Long started just five games in his one season at Oregon, but he impressed the Bears with his athleticism, intangibles and bloodlines. His father, Howie, was a Hall of Fame defensive end with the Raiders, and his brother Chris is a Pro Bowl defensive end with the Rams. The Bears also like Long’s mental makeup, which was displayed when an injury last season gave him a shot at Oregon as a guard, even though he had previously played tackle.
“I didn’t ask them if I could play,” Long said. “I told them I would be the starting left guard. I told them I was going to be starting against (USC). We had a guy go down and I jumped at the opportunity. I was hungry to play.
“I knew I had to get in where I fit in and it so happened to be left guard. It’s the offensive line. Every position is very similar with the exception of center. It was a great opportunity for me and I felt like I took full advantage of it.”
Although terms of Long’s deal were not initially disclosed, it should be similar to that of teammate Shea McClellin, who was the 19th overall pick in 2012.
McClellin’s four-year deal was for $8.26 million, including a $4,45 million signing bonus.
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