Friday, May 10, 2013
Long needs to be patient with Pac 12 rule
By Jeff Dickerson
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears first-round draft choice Kyle Long is approaching the club's three-day rookie minicamp like a student who is given a copy of the teacher's lesson plan before missing school for several weeks.
That's because following the conclusion of the Bears' annual three-day rookie minicamp, Long will be ineligible to participate in any of the team's ten organized team activities and the veteran minicamp that runs from June 11-13 due to the fact Oregon uses the quarter system and final exams run through June 14.
NFL rules state that if final examinations at a player's school conclude after May 13, the player may not participate in any activities other than the three-day rookie minicamp until after the player's final day of examinations, even if the player has left or leaves school.
"It's frustrating, but due to the quarter system, like a lot of Pac-12 guys I'm going to have to wait," Long said Friday after the first rookie minicamp workout.
"Obviously I'm behind the eight-ball a little bit because I won't be able to be here with the team. But I have somebody in place and I'll have the installations ahead of time. So it's kind of like if you're missing a week of school and you're sick, you want to get the lesson plan from your teacher ahead of time. That's kind of how I'm treating this."
The Bears are quite familiar with this rule, having drafted several players from Pac-12 schools over the years who were also required to skip offseason workouts.
Bears head coach Marc Trestman said the team knew of Long's predicament on draft night but that his ability and potential superseded any of those concerns. Trestman hesitated to offer a full-critique of Long's Friday performance prior to viewing the tape of Friday's practice, but he called the rookie "a smooth runner."
"Kyle is a very smart guy and we know he is 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 into training camp," Trestman said. "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 are up to or we wouldn't have made the pick."
Although Long cannot be physically present at Halas Hall after the weekend, Trestman said the Bears will use several methods to keep in contact with their first-round pick over the summer.
"I think that anytime you got to deal with a certain issue you have to embrace it and I think we will as a staff, and Kyle will. We've got a lot of different ways of communicating with him -- there are webinars out there, we can sit in a meeting with him and show tape to him right there on the computer. We've got all the technology to do that.
"He's working with an NFL line coach (Tony Wise) who's been in the league a long time and is good. (Bears offensive coordinator/offensive line coach) Aaron (Kromer) and him are specifically working on key things and will over time after our assessment of this weekend."
While it's difficult evaluate offensive linemen without pads in a minicamp setting, Long has clear goals for what he wants to accomplish over the three-day period.
"I just want to continue to earn the respect of my teammates and my coaches," Long said. "(I) just want to solidify my knowledge of this offense and get more and more reps."