TE coach wondered if football was important to Hunter Long

Coming to the end of his second season with the Miami Dolphins, tight end Hunter Long hasn’t exactly produced the way some believed when he was selected in the third round of the 2021 draft.

Despite being known as a receiving tight end in college, Long has just one catch in his NFL career. Injuries and a lack of a role were some of the reasons that have limited him to just 15 games through two years, but they may not have been the only things keeping him off of the field.

Speaking with the media on Thursday, assistant head coach and tight ends coach Jon Embree discussed Long’s motivation and work ethic.

“Well, it’s been quite a journey with Hunter Long,” Embree said. “We’ve had some interesting times. The thing I’ve learned about him, one, is football is important to him. So that’s good to know with him, because there were times I wondered about that. So football is important to him…”

He was asked to clarify.

“Why did I wonder that about him,” Embree asked. “I just sometimes wondered about preparation, how hard did he prepare. Part of it – it’s not his fault, it’s just getting to know people. That’s really the biggest thing with the first year when you’re coaching new people is just really getting to know what’s important to them, how they work, how they prepare, different things like that, do they have things going on off the field that can be distractions, all that stuff. So it’s been a little process getting to know Hunter and it’s been a lot of fun, really, the last six weeks with him, dealing with him and all that. He’s handled – he’s gotten the short end of the stick a couple times and he’s handled it very well. Like I said, I’m excited to see what happens with him next year.”

We probably won’t know the full dynamics of what Embree is talking about, but with Mike Gesicki likely leaving this offseason, Miami would greatly benefit from Long stepping up and taking a job heading into 2023.

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Story originally appeared on Dolphins Wire