Pharos-Tribune

Community News Network

July 22, 2013

NFL injury risk has Hall-of-Fame dad concerned for rookie son

(Continued)

In the auditorium, Ray Farmer, a former player who is now an assistant general manager of the Cleveland Browns, stepped to the front of the room to deliver a sobering message to Kyle and his fellow rookies.

"All of you are in the process of being replaced," he said. "Right now, the clock is ticking. For some of you quicker than others."

Be boat builders, the father told his three boys, or play the piano. Secretly he thought, don't be football players.

At first none of the Long sons showed much interest. Christopher (born in 1985), Kyle (1988) and Howard Jr. (1990) were too small during Howie's prime to understand what he did for a living, and Diane rarely took them to the stadium; they were happier fishing in a pond.

Then the oldest, Chris, came home from high school and announced he wanted to play. That night Howie and Diane lay in bed murmuring their concerns to each other. Maybe he wouldn't like it, Howie said. "He'll get his nose bloodied, and he'll come home and not want to play anymore." But Chris didn't get his nose bloodied; instead he got a scholarship to play defensive end at Virginia. Next Kyle and Howie Jr. were wearing high school uniforms, Howie Jr. as a quarterback and Kyle as an offensive lineman.

For Howie, football had been a desperate necessity, but he wasn't sure he wanted the next generation of Longs to make it their livelihood. He was a poor kid from the Charlestown section of Boston, son of a milk loader, raised by an assortment of tough, blue-collar uncles. He had done shifts longshoring to make extra cash and was headed to vocational school until football had given him a Villanova education and a better living than his laboring uncles. The NFL not only had supported him until he retired in 1993, it had opened other doors as an actor, corporate pitchman and Fox Sports studio analyst. All of which afforded his family comfort and meant his sons didn't need the game for socioeconomic improvement, didn't need to sacrifice chunks out of their necks, back, shoulders and legs to rise in the world.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

The Pence administration continues to cut Indiana agency budgets despite a state surplus of $2 billion. Is this wise management of state funds?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.