Long suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the preseason finale against the New York Jets.
Long, an ever-improving inside linebacker, is out for the season.
“It's disappointing. You feel for him,” Eagles general manager Howie Roseman told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “He's been a tremendous worker in getting back (from injury). You see on the field the potential he has.”
First-round draft pick Marcus Smith, the No. 26 overall pick out of Louisville, may be asked to contribute at a faster pace due to the loss of Long.
That's not an easy task for a rookie.
“Obviously he's a talented guy,” Roseman told the Inquirer. “He's got talent. He's got length. He's got size. He's got athleticism. But it's all new when you're talking about someone coming into a new environment, trying to learn a new scheme. Do we hope he can contribute as a first-round pick? Yeah, certainly, we'd like that. But I think the story has yet to be written on it.”
The Eagles attempted to upgrade their depth at linebacker in the offseason. With the loss of Long, was it enough?
“It's a spot we looked at -- we tried to upgrade and address -- but we also didn't want to reach and do something we didn't think made sense,” Roseman told the Inquirer. “Sometimes, it's the nature of the business. You're not going to always get what you want.”