BOURBONNAIS – Twice during live pass-protection drills on Sunday, the players going one-on-one with Kyle Long wound up on the ground. That should not be a complete surprise.
The rookie right guard spent time working this offseason with Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, a former Mixed Martial Arts fighter himself and who has trained numerous NFL players in the hand-to-hand combat techniques of MMA.
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“He is the meanest, nastiest dude I’ve ever trained,” Glazer told CSNChicago.com. Glazer works at FOX with Kyle’s father Howie, a Hall of Fame defensive end and Oakland Raider tough guy, and “Kyle’s just like Howie back in the day. He’s the nicest kid but he’s exactly what you want in your offensive lineman. He’ll fight you first."
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Long was pitted in Graeco-Roman wrestling and other sessions against MMA legend Chuck Liddell, Green Bay Packers No. 1 draft choice and defensive end Datone Jones and others.
The wrestling required him to sink his hips low enough to get under the 5-7 Glazer in a sport that, like NFL line play, is all about leverage.
“We worked on just hips and pushing our breaking point mentally and physically,” Long said. “We did a lot of low-impact cardio; you don’t have to run around all the time. When you’re body to body with somebody for a few four-minute rounds, you get worn out pretty easily.”
Long also worked privately with longtime NFL offensive line coach Tony Wise on his skills between the white lines. But the work with Glazer was right out of the steel cage octagon and grueling in a different way.
“We’d do three three-minute rounds and I think we’ve done some four-minute ones and that just wears you down,” Long said. “It puts you in position to be ready to go late in drives in football.”
Glazer used boxing to develop hand speed and hand placement, critical for offensive linemen.
“Every day I’m trying to break you, to make football easier,” Glazer said. “And Kyle worked his butt off.”
Long was drafted in 2008 by the Chicago White Sox but opted for a baseball scholarship to Florida State. He has ended up in football. Would MMA be another career possibility?
“I think I like my career right now,” he said.