Kyle Long has been voted to the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons with the Bears. But his contributions to the organization extend beyond the playing field.
Friends with Bobby Massie since they played high school football against each other in Virginia, Long helped convince the free-agent tackle to leave the Cardinals to sign with the Bears.
"We've been talking about this for the past two weeks," Massie said after agreeing to a three-year contract. "He's been in my ear, trying to get me to come to Chicago and recruit me. Once I finally did give him notice that I was coming, he was screaming and shouting on the phone. He was real happy to hear that.
"He's a good recruiter. If there's somebody good out there and he wants them on the team, he's got the ability to make that happen because of who he's become on this team."
Bobby Massie started 46 games at right tackle in four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals.
Massie declined to discuss the exact nature of his conversations with Long, no doubt because some of the language wasn't suitable for all ages.
"I could say exactly what he said, but it wouldn't be good or be appropriate," Massie said with a smile. "Just forget every other team and come to Chicago, basically."
Massie spent his first four NFL seasons with the Cardinals, appearing in 54 games with 46 starts, all at right tackle. The 6-6, 316-pounder was selected by Arizona in the fourth round of the 2012 draft from Mississippi.
With Massie's arrival, the Bears are expected to move Long from right tackle back to right guard, the position he played his first two NFL seasons in 2013-14. Asked during an interview about playing next to his friend, Massie said: "It's going to be good for us and bad for d-linemen. I'm ready to do it; bust some heads together."
The Cardinals steadily improved during Massie's four seasons in Arizona, moving up one spot in the standings each year, from fourth in 2012 to third in 2013 to second in 2014 to first in 2015. Their records during that span were 5-11, 10-6, 11-5 and 13-3.
"Winning is contagious," Massie said. "Once you start winning, you don't want to go back to losing. All we need is a little taste here. We've got to get back to the top."
Massie's journey to the top was initially bumpy. After starting all 16 games at right tackle as a rookie in 2012, he was supplanted by Eric Winston and made no starts in 2013. Treating the demotion as a wakeup call, Massie improved his work ethic and reduced his mental mistakes. He ultimately earned his job back and started all 30 games he played the past two seasons.
"You can't get the big head," Massie said. "You've got to stay humble. You've got to respect the process. That was a big learning experience for me. It helped out a lot, even though I didn't think that it was. I lived and I learned from it. It helped me to succeed in the future."