- Jeff Dickerson, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Chicago Bears rookie offensive guard Kyle Long found a way to stay connected to his teammates and coaches in the offseason despite being prohibited from attending organized team activities and the veteran minicamp due to NCAA rules.
"Whenever they had an OTA I would get up in the morning, I was on the West Coast so it would be a few hours earlier to what they waking up to here, (and) they would put the cell phone at the front of the room and I would be able to see the screen (using Skype)," Long said when he reported to training camp on Wednesday.
"I could hear all of the coaches' instructions and hear all the questions the players had. I would get some heckling from some of the guys, like who is this guy on the cell phone? I forget how many times we did it but I woke up early quite often."
Long described the exercise as beneficial.
"It was very helpful," Long said. "It beats sitting around not getting any instruction. Any questions I had coach (Pat) Meyer was there to answer and coach (Aaron Kromer) was there giving instruction in the meeting so it was a great opportunity for me."
Selected by the Bears at No. 20 overall in the 2013 NFL draft, the club views Long as a future starter but he will first have to beat out second-year offensive lineman James Brown for the right guard position. Despite missing all the on-field work in the offseason, with the exception of the three-day rookie minicamp, Long does have a certain degree of familiarity with certain concepts of the Bears' new offense.
"The good thing about this offense is that there are a lot of zone read principles," Long said. "The zone read offense is something that we did at Oregon. The big difference is that we have a quarterback under center and we huddle here, those are the two big differences. But it's still football and I'm just going to do my best to immerse myself in the offense."