The Los Angeles Rams during this past offseason made a slew of surprising moves that saw them cut a few core veteran players from their roster in hopes of freeing up more salary cap space.
One of these players was defensive end Chris Long, who was spent his first eight seasons with the team after being selected with the second overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. It didn't take long for the 31-year-old to find a new home signing a one-year, $2 million deal with the New England Patriots.
However, Long didn't voice any special motivation to play his former team, but did have some huge praise that Los Angeles can provide some challenges on both sides of the ball for the Patriots.
“Definitely a dangerous team, a team that’s played in a lot of tight ball games. Obviously plays great defense," Long said." Offensively, new quarterback, a lot of weapons. Definitely a group we have a lot of respect for – capable of beating anybody any Sunday. Certainly it’s going to be a tough test and a four quarter game. ”
Although Long does have plenty of strong connections with the franchise, he doesn't believe he in the position to comment on the team's lack of progress through the rebuilding stage after so many years.
"I know that they’re a team that’s capable of beating any team on any Sunday," Long said, whose 54.5 sacks in a Rams' uniform rank fourth all-time in team history. "That’s how I know those guys – tough group of guys. They’ve got a lot of skill guys on offense that we’re going to have to deal with for 60 minutes. It’s not important what I think about the state of any other team, what’s important is that I’m preparing to play them this Sunday.”
In the last two seasons with the Rams, Long dealt with nagging injuries that ketp him off the field for 14 total games while racking up just four sacks, which may have very well played a huge factor in the team's decision to cut him. That said, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick stated that he has been impressed by how he's played in his first season with the team.
"He’s good to have on our team, and I’m glad he’s here," Long said. "I think he enjoys coming to work, working on football, and competing every day. I really respect that about him. He gives you a great effort every day.”