3-time Pro Bowl Bears lineman Kyle Long announces surprise retirement at 31

Chicago Bears guard Kyle Long announced his retirement on Twitter on Sunday in a surprise revelation from the seven-year veteran.

Long, 31, is a three-time Pro Bowler, but appears to have grown weary of the toll of injuries he has suffered in the NFL.

Long later clarified that by “stepping away,” he is indeed retiring from football.

Successful start to career

Long made the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons with Chicago after being selected in the first round of the 2013 draft out of Oregon. He missed just one game across those three seasons, but has not played in more than 10 games in a single season since.

He suffered severe ligament damage with an ankle injury in 2016 that required surgery and cost him half the season. He also had surgery to repair a torn labrum that season.

Related: NFL Family: Chris Long, Kyle Long and Howie Long

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NFL Family: Chris Long, Kyle Long and Howie Long
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NFL Family: Chris Long, Kyle Long and Howie Long
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 21: Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long (56) poses with his father Howie Long and brother Kyle Long during the NFC Championship game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings on January 21, 2017 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. Eagles won 38-7.(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: TV personality and former NFL player Howie Long celebrates with son Chris Long #95 of the New England Patriots after defeating the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. The Patriots defeated the Falcons 34-28. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - AUGUST 16: After the practice ended, Patriots defensive end Chris Long (#95, right) held his five-month-old son Waylon, as Chris' brother (#and Waylon's uncle), Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long (left) leaned in and tried to entertain his nephew. The New England Patriots and the Chicago Bears held a joint practice session at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Aug. 16, 2016, in preparation for their NFL exhibition game Thursday night. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - AUGUST 18: Chicago Bears head coach John Fox (left), has a word and a hand for the Long brothers, Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long (center) and New England Patriots defensive lineman Chris Long (right) on the field after a preseason game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on Aug. 18, 2016. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - NOVEMBER 24: Defensive end Chris Long #91 of the Virginia Cavaliers stands with his father and Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long before Chris' jersey retirement during pregame of their matchup against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Scott Stadium on November 24, 2007 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Oakland Raiders Hall of Famer Howie Long and his son, the St. Louis Rams first round draft pick Chris Long during the 2008 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York, NY. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Chris Long #95 of the New England Patriots speaks to father Howie Long before Super Bowl 51 against the Atlanta Falcons at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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Injuries piled up

He played in just four games this season before ending 2019 on injured reserve with a hip injury. He suffered the injury prior to a Week 4 game against the Minnesota Vikings that he sat out. He returned to play every snap of a Week 5 game against the Oakland Raiders before the team placed him on injured reserve for the fourth straight season.

Between the injured reserve designation and general manager Ryan Pace’s comments this past week, it appears that Long’s time in Chicago may have been up regardless of his decision to retire.

“We think the world of him,” Pace told reporters on Tuesday. “It’s unfortunate he’s had a handful of injuries and he’s tried to battle through all of them. Kyle does have an option in his contract that we’ve got to look at.

“That’ll be one of the many decisions we have to make on him. But I feel bad for all the injuries he’s tried to overcome. That was a decision we made at the time, and we’ll have to make another decision this offseason with his option.”

Long played his entire career with the Bears.

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