Long game over as Eagles ace retires

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Two-time Super Bowl-winning defensive end Chris Long has announced his retirement after 11 seasons in the National Football League.

Long, 34, was a key member of the Philadelphia Eagles team which stunned the New England Patriots in last year's Super Bowl.

A year earlier, the defensive ace had been a member of the Patriots team which overturned a 28-3 deficit against the Atlanta Falcons in the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.

Long announced his retirement with a post on Twitter late Saturday.

"Cheers," Long wrote. "Been a hell of a journey. Eleven years and I can honestly say I put my soul into every minute of it.

"Highs and lows. I've seen them both and I appreciate the perspective. Gratitude and love to those who lifted me up."

Long ends his career on a high note after being honored with the prestigious Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award in February.

Long recorded 70 career sacks and 15 forced fumbles in 162 games over his 11 seasons, which included eight years with the St. Louis Rams after being drafted in 2008.

He was also renowned for his philanthropy off the field, and his support for team-mates protesting racial injustice during the politically-charged 2017 season.

In 2017 he donated his entire base salary, worth $1 million, to charities which promote educational equality in the three cities where he spent his career -- St. Louis, Philadelphia and Boston.

His donations also helped fund scholarships to a private middle and high school in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Eagles paid tribute to Long in a statement on Sunday.

"When you look at everything Chris Long accomplished as a player and person, it's easy to see how fortunate we've been to have him on our team," the Eagles said.

"Chris was everything that we thought he was and even more -- not only as a great player for our football team, but also in the community. There aren't many players who can say they won back-to-back Super Bowls and the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year award. He accomplished both with class and grace."