Of all the things that have happened this year to Eagles defensive end Chris Long – winning a Super Bowl with New England, becoming an Eagle, helping this team win 13 of its first 15 games – nothing compared to what happened on Friday when former President of the United States Barack Obama recognized Long's donation of all of his game checks from the season.
"For all the bad news that seemed to dominate our collective consciousness, there are countless stories from this year that remind us what's best about America," Obama tweeted on Long's decision to donate his game checks to fund educational opportunities.
Long, naturally, was moved by the mention.
"It's cool. At the end of the day that's an honor that that would fly across one of our former President's radar," Long said after practice Friday in the NovaCare Complex locker room. "That's the whole point of doing good things in the community, spreading positivity and it's an honor to be mentioned."
Long has been a hugely positive force for the Eagles on the field, with five quarterback sacks, a team-high and career-most four forced fumbles, and a career-best 36 quarterback pressures/hurries. Off the field, he's a role model for his day-to-day approach and for things like donating all of his game checks to those less fortunate.
"I've been lucky. I've made a lot of money playing a game. I've been humbled by the opportunity and just being able to play football for a living," Long said. "While it's not an earth-shattering amount of money, it's more about for me doing what I love for something that's important to me than it is the actual number. Then the fans get behind it (the cause), matching it essentially kind of proves the point, which is that, (when) we all work together, there's a lot we can agree on to try and improve."
Long said he has not thought about making a career in politics, although he does spend a lot of time thinking about politics. Having respect for Obama for the "class that he carried himself with, for being the face of our country," Long was moved by what happened on Friday.
"It was cool," Long said when asked if it was better than recording a strip-sack on the football field. "It was different."