Rob Ninkovich shares comical story about conversation with Chris Long originally appeared on nbcsportsboston.com
Some players enter the NFL with massive expectations that are tough to live up to. Chris Long would qualify as one. The former New England Patriot and No. 2 overall pick in 2008, who announced his retirement from the NFL just over a week ago, was expected to be a terrific pass rusher. He was able to have a solid career, but the expectations were certainly lofty.
In a recent interview with ESPN's Mike Reiss, former Patriot Rob Ninkovich recalled about a conversation he had Long about being compared to players, and it had a comical result.
At one time, we were having a discussion, and I told him, 'It sucks that they gave me [No.] 50 because it can feel like a Mike Vrabel comparison all the time.' He looked at me and was like, 'Yeah, I'm Howie Long's son.' He wins that one.
Um, yeah. I'd say that Long had a little bit more heaped on him than Ninkovich for that comparison.
Still, Long did well for himself. Though he only played for the Patriots for one season, he had a huge impact on the team. He totaled four sacks in 2016 en route to the team's Super Bowl victory over the Atlanta Falcons. He would go on to beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl the next year as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. He finished his career with 70 sacks, the two rings, and a Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
Considering that Long's father had 84 sacks, the younger Long did a great job of trying to live up to the comparison.
Meanwhile, Ninkovich had four sacks in 2016, his lone season teamed up with Long which also turned out to be his final season. He finished his Patriots career with 46 sacks and two Super Bowl titles in eight seasons. Comparatively, Vrabel had 48 sacks and three Super Bowl titles in his eight seasons in New England.
Suffice to say, both players were able to do the comparisons they faced justice during their more-than-solid NFL careers.
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