The Miami Dolphins drafted Hunter Long when the team had little need for a tight end and traded him when the position could use a boost — it’s been a complex career for the former Boston College Eagle.
“Definitely, it was a surprise for me, but I’m really excited for it,” Long said of the trade when interviewing with TheRams.com. “Really excited to join the Rams, really excited to get out there and start working with the coaching staff. Coach [Nick] Caley’s a great tight end coach they just brought in, so I’m really excited to start working with him. But yeah, just excited for the opportunity. It’s a great opportunity for me and excited to take advantage of it.”
Miami selected Long in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft despite rostering four tight ends with experience in the league. Mike Gesicki was the team’s starter while Durham Smythe carved out a role as the team’s primary blocker at the position.
The team traded with the Chicago Bears for Adam Shaheen in 2020 and signed five-year veteran Cethan Carter to a three-year contract in 2021 — before the draft.
“I came into kind of a tricky situation. I came into a tight end room that already had five tight ends, and three established tight ends,” Long said. “As a rookie, my role was with a rookie role and kind of plugged in where I could and do I what could. This last year, I definitely carved out a bigger role for myself. Unfortunately, dealt with some injuries early on, and kind of picked up steam later in the season when I was able to get over those injuries. I was definitely in more of a blocking role this year, but that was not because I can’t run routes and catch the ball, you know?
“I’m as team-guy as they come, and whatever the team needs to do to win games and help the team be successful, I’m gonna do and do to the best of my ability. So that’s all I was asked to do, and I tried to excel at that, but that’s obviously not my whole game.”
Long finished with one reception for eight yards in his time with the Dolphins but has the opportunity for a fresh start with the Rams.
“I’m just as confident in myself as I’ve always been,” Long said. “I think this is a great opportunity for me to showcase my skillset and show what I can do in this league, and I’m excited to have that opportunity.”