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Long bringing blue-collar mentality to Bears

As he begins his career with the Bears, first-round draft pick Kyle Long has only one objective.

"The main goal for anybody that's drafted is you want to come in and you want to try to earn the respect of your teammates and your coaches, and that comes through hard work," Long said Friday during his introductory press conference at Halas Hall.



]( "Click to view photos from Kyle Long's introductory press conference")
Click to view photos from Kyle Long's first day at Halas Hall

"That comes through bringing your lunch pail to work every day and getting after it, being blue collar, having a blue collar mentality and just playing with the toughness and playing with the same type of tenacity that got you to this point, and that's really what I'm going to try to do; show up every day and just work. Good things tend to happen to those who work."

The Bears selected Long, an athletic guard from Oregon, with the 20th overall pick in the first round. The 6-6, 313-pounder learned his work ethic from his father, Howie, a Hall of Fame defensive end, as well as his mother, Diane.

When Long decided to resume his football career after leaving the Florida State baseball program, his father made him push a blocking sled in garage of the family's Montana home. Kyle responded enthusiastically, eventually driving the mammoth sled through a wall.

"One thing he instilled in me from a very young age, even off the football field, is if you want to do something, you want to do it 100 percent," Long said. "You don't want to do a halfway job on anything. He just wants me to do something with passion.

"The same goes with my mom. My mom wants me to be passionate about what I do. She wants me to have fun with what I'm doing. I'm living out my dream now. I'm about to play in the NFL and I'm going to have the opportunity to play in the NFL for the Chicago Bears, and I couldn't think of a better place to live out that dream."

Long traveled a unique road to the NFL, originally accepting a baseball scholarship to pitch at Florida State before switching back to football two years later. Baseball was his first love, but he never even played in a college game due to poor grades and other off-the-field issues.

Long resumed his football career at Saddleback Community College in California, where he played defensive end in 2010 before moving to left tackle in 2011. After attracting interest from several Pac-12 schools, Long enrolled at Oregon, where he appeared in 11 games with five starts last year.

"The first offseason I had away from football I realized how much I missed it," Long said. "When I was at Florida State I could hear the football helmets smacking, the whistles blowing and the coaches screaming. There wasn't a lot of that on the baseball field, and I knew I was not in the right place."

Long is convinced that he's in the right place to begin his NFL career.

"I just know that Chicago is one of the most historic football towns, sports towns, in the country," he said. "There are Chicago Bears fans everywhere around the world. The 'C' on the helmet is synonymous with success and just tremendous football. That's what I'm most excited about; coming to Chicago and being part of the Bears organization."

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