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Long faces time away from Bears

The SportsXchange

In his one season of major-college football, Bears first-round pick Kyle Long started his only five games at left guard. But he lined up exclusively at right guard during the weekend's rookie minicamp practice inside the Walter Payton Center.

The adjustment isn't a problem, according to the middle son of NFL Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long.

"My hand's still on the ground, and I'm still supposed to block somebody," Long said. "It's just a different side."

After Sunday's final practice, Long won't be back with the Bears until training camp begins in late July. Because of an NFL rule that prohibits a rookie from practicing with his pro team before his school's final exams have been completed, Long will miss all the OTAs (May 13-June 6), and the full-team minicamp (June 11-13). Oregon's finals aren't completed until June 14.

"It's frustrating," Long said. "But due to the quarter system, like a lot of Pac-12 guys, I'm going to have to wait.

"Obviously I'm behind the eight-ball a little bit. But I'll have the (playbook) installations ahead of time. It's kind of like if you're missing a week of school (because) you're sick and you want to get the lesson plan from your teacher ahead of time. That's kind of how I'm treating this."

Bears coach Marc Trestman doesn't consider the situation an insurmountable obstacle for Long, who is expected to contend for a starting job as a rookie.

"We've got a lot of different ways of communicating with him," Trestman said. "We can show tape to him and sit in a meeting with him and watch tape with him right on a computer."

Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer, a long-time NFL offensive line coach, will be in communication with Long after the staff makes assessments following their review of film from this weekend's work.

"Kyle is a very smart guy," Trestman said. "We know he's going to dig in and do everything he can to get himself ready -- not just physically, but mentally. It's a minimal obstacle and nothing we can't handle. The opportunity to embrace it and get it done is something we're up to, or we wouldn't have made the pick."
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