First, a note on the delay on writing this. I was training over the weekend through yesterday, so I was not able to post this, but it definitely is a post I want to make. And, thank you to The Phinsider crew for covering me for a few days.
Former Miami Dolphins number one overall pick Jake Long has announced his retirement from football. Long, who was selected in the 2008 NFL Draft, spent five years with the Dolphins before a two-year stint with the St. Louis Rams, a year with the Atlanta Falcons, and last year with the Minnesota Vikings. Long released a statement on his Twitter account to announce the retirement:
“Football has been something that I have put my entire heart and soul into. I have always given this game the respect and attention to detail that it demands.
“As I continue with my recent rehab I realize that although my head and mind still want to play, my body is telling me something completely different. Mentally and physically I have given this game everything I possibly could. I love playing and will definitely miss it. But, I am so excited for the next chapter in my live and the opportunities that will come. I have an amazing wife, little daughter and another one on the way. Life is good!
“I am humbled and grateful for the amazing opportunities that football has provided me and my family. The teammates, coaches, lifelong friends, and special moments that I’ve been able to experience are priceless.
“I’d like to thank all of the organization I got a chance to play for. Most of all I want to thank the Miami Dolphins. Mr. Ross, Tony Sparano, and Bill Parcells, Thank you. You believed in me and gave me my first opportunity of playing in the NFL. I will always be a proud and lifelong Miami Dolphin!
“Thank you to my amazing wife, Jackie. Without you I wouldn’t have had this long of a career. Throughout all of the years, injuries, surgeries, rehab, moving, the stress during football season, and the ups and down you have always been our family’s rock. You are the strongest woman I know. I love you.
Thank you to my parnets, John and Denise Long. I love you guys. The work ethic that you instilled in my was one of the reasons I got to where I did. From 5th grade when I first started playing, you’ve been at every game supporting me. That meant so much to me to know you guys were always that.
“Thank you to all of the loyal fans who have supported and embraced me throughout my career, college and professional. It was an honor to play for you.
“Thank you to Tom Condon and the entire CAA family. Thank you to Dr. Andrews and his team for all the time and effort you have put into my body and career.
“Lastly, than you Coach Carr. You gave me one of the greatest honors of playing football at the University of Michigan. The way you coached and the lessons you taught your players are what prepared me for the NFL and beyond. I love you coach, thank you.”
Long began his career with the Dolphins by being named to four straight Pro Bowls, as well as being a first-team All-Pro selection in 2010. Unfortunately, a back injury in 2011 caused him to miss his first game since the Dolphins drafted him, an injury that was then followed by a biceps tear. Injuries continued to wreck Long’s body, including multiple ACL tears.
Long had the potential to be a Hall of Fame player, if not for the injuries. As he said in his statement, Long gave everything physically to the game, continually playing hurt as long as his body could physically get onto the field. He was an exceptional player for the Dolphins for the five years when he was healthy. Fans will continue to debate whether Miami should have selected Long or quarterback Matt Ryan, who was selected with the third-overall pick in 2008, but at the time, Long was clearly the best choice Miami could make - and it was the right one. Long was a generational talent at left tackle, but, unfortunate and unforeseen injuries derailed his career.
Congratulations to Jake and Jackie for a great career and good luck in the future. You will always have a special place in the history of the Miami Dolphins and with their fans.