He caught on with the San Francisco 49ers and practiced twice before calling it a career.
“After that disappointment with the Bills, I just kind of felt like, you know, the rug was pulled out from underneath me and I lost a lot of motivation,” he said. “I don’t go into anything half-ass, and I didn’t want to go into San Francisco and give them half of me.”
A third-round pick by Washington, Long’s rise in the sport is one of the better walk-on stories you’ll find. He arrived at Nebraska with all-area honorable mention credentials in high school. He actually began his college career on the defensive line, and didn’t play a snap his first two years.
Then in the fall camp of 2011, in his third year, while taking challenging biology classes and organic chemistry II, there suddenly was talk that he was working with the No. 1 offensive line. He ended up starting every game that season.
It all fell into place pretty well for him, right up to his Aug. 4 release by the Bills.
He’s still living in Buffalo, where he ponders his next phase of life. He has a few ideas in mind, he said, but there’s no reason to rush into anything.
“I just have to take some time to feel what my heart’s set on,” he said.
It’s pretty clear he’ll continue to follow Nebraska football closely, and perhaps more closely without the inherent demands of NFL life. He’ll keep an eye in the trenches, understanding that if Nebraska is going to return to being a powerhouse program, that’s where it has to start. I genuinely believe that’s the case, and Long says nothing to dissuade such thinking.