The Tennessee Titans began Phase 1 of their offseason program on Monday afternoon with players reporting to the facility for voluntary workouts and other light activities. Several new faces were in attendance, including tight end Austin Hooper. Various returning players took to the podium and spoke with members of local media as they prepare for the 2022 regular season. Inside linebacker David Long Jr. was one of those players. Long is now the team’s most seasoned player at the position, following the departures of long-time teammates Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans, who signed with the Las Vegas Raiders and Atlanta Falcons respectively in free agency. Their exits makes Long the team’s longest tenured inside linebacker on the roster.
General manager Jon Robinson drafted Long in the sixth-round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Long will now spearhead a group that also contains last year’s midseason addition Zach Cunningham, and sophomore-linebacker-to-be Monty Rice. Long finds himself in unfamiliar territory as the veteran in the position, room, but he’s ready to embrace the challenge.
“I’ve sat back and watched the people [Evans and Brown] in front of me,” Long said, while speaking with the media on Monday afternoon. “I’ve grown as a player both on and off the field. The next step for me is to take my game to the next level. I can be an All-Pro or whatever. I’m putting out there that the sky’s the limit for me. The next step is for me to continue to grow as a player,” Long concluded.
Long experienced his best season as a Titan in 2021 despite battling through some injuries by recording career-highs in total tackles (75), tackles for loss (4.0) and quarterback hits (2.0). Long totaled these impressive numbers despite playing in a career-low 10 regular-season contests. Long was credited with 26 total stops and earned himself a solid overall grade of 67.4 on 634 total defensive snaps, via Pro Football Focus.
Long is a candidate to wear the green dot for Tennessee’s defense in 2022. The former West Virginia standout is entering an ever-important contract year this season. Stay tuned to MCM for all updates.