The Latest Episodes of INSIGHT with Chris Van Vliet
Nov. 17, 2021

2-Time Super Bowl Champion Chris Long On Developing a Champion's Mindset

2-Time Super Bowl Champion Chris Long On Developing a Champion's Mindset


Chris Long is a retired NFL player, 2-time Super Bowl Champion, podcaster, and philanthropist. He joins Chris Van Vliet to talk about his identity shift to life after the NFL, growing up the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long, his podcast called "Green Light with Chris Long", winning back-to-back Super Bowls, his charity work to get clean water in Tanzania, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, becoming a father, raising his two sons and much more!

For more information about The Chris Long Foundation visit: https://chrislongfoundation.org/about/

On forgetting the microphone is on and being yourself on his podcast:

“It’s easy to forget. But it’s better to forget, because if you do, for the most part you are going to be yourself. If I was on TV, the cameras are there, you know it’s live and all that stuff. When I am podcasting, it’s good and bad. When I played, you knew instantly with the crowd if you made a good play or not. But when I am podcasting, you don’t have that. So that's the one thing that I am trying to break is knowing how people felt about the podcast, it’s a nice feeling when you just let that out into the world.”

On the Green Light podcast:

“Green Light to me, well green is my favorite color. I have a green truck, I’m wearing a green hoodie and my shorts are green. I like the color, but also we talk about pretty much anything that I want to talk about, which is pretty much the whole point of podcasting.  We just turn it on and whatever we talk about, we talk about.”

On early sporting memories:

“ So I first started playing soccer. I was on a team and didn’t score the entire season, but that’s not my fault, I was the goalie. I started with football at about 9 or 10, but I was above the weight limit. Although I wasn’t big, I was tall, so you’re going to weigh more than the other kids. I was pretty bad at football for a long time.”

On playing defensive:

“Honestly, it was probably in middle school football years. In 7th grade I got the ball out of the bag and I tripped. My coach didn’t give me the ball ever again, which spoke volumes. Actually he gave the ball one more time, I made 12 yards, but I got held back for a holding penalty. The fact that I was 6 foot 3, 255 lbs and I could run, but I still wasn’t getting the ball, that said everything I needed to know about my prospects as an offensive player in the future. In high school my dad told me to work on my guard more, and defence just happened. I loved third downs and the atmosphere of that, whether it’s in college or in the SuperBowl, it’s all the same to me.”

How do you replace the buzz of football in retirement:

“You don’t. To me, it’s an unrealistic expectation. I remember my college coach telling me ‘Don’t go into the next phase looking to replace football, because you will never replace football.’ If I go looking for that same feeling I got on 3rd down sacking a quarterback, I will be disappointed. If you do some inventory and look at why you play football, for me it was the satisfaction of the grind and the competing, that was the feeling that you loved. That feeling is hard to replace too. But that feeling of we have just busted our asses for 8 days, we are tired, sore and people are writing articles about us. Maybe we didn’t have a chance to win this game, but we went out and we won it and I was a part of it. That’s something you can try to replace, maybe it’s the work, the comradery, the satisfaction. But you never really replace that one thing, and if you accept that then I think it will be ok.”

On how to handle retirement from football:

“There’s no like, this is the next room. The next room is retirement and then maybe obscurity. If guys want to disappear then they can really disappear. There is no ‘I can work at this job for the next 40 years.’ If you are the best at your industry, it’s very likely that you will be able to do it for a very long time. It’s nice when your head hits the pillow and you know that you have the next 30 years figured out. But I don’t think I would be able to do that in some alternate universe where you get old and just keep playing football. But if you approach retirement and the next steps in the right way and with realistic expectations, you can beat retirement. So many guys struggle with it, I do too, but the next game is life. That’s why certain guys struggle, because it is so different to football.”

On when it was time:

“I wasn’t sure, and even down to retiring I wasn’t sure. A decision like that isn’t like ok, now it’s time. I think the craziest thing is that if you have the luxury of not getting run out of the league, which can happen to all of us. I am sitting there in my 11th season and feeling burned out, not by the football, but by the politics upstairs and downstairs. There’s the GM’s and the coaches trying to run you out of the league because you are an older player and cost more. You just get burned out, and I think the bottom line is you will get to a crossroads, and you don’t know when it’s going to be, but you will make that decision. Every other decision you make as a football player has been made for you. Everyone’s career and how they feel about it is different, I just woke up one day and said what I loved from Monday to Saturday I didn’t love any more.”      

On the longevity of Tom Brady’s career:

“It’s really weird. I get that he has played for as long as he has, but he is a quarterback. I wouldn’t want to get drilled a couple of times a day. Playing defensive and linebacker is likely having a bunch of car accidents every week. When I look at somebody like Tom, he is the greatest of all time, maniacal about his body, he placed himself in a situation where he can play longer. He is very intentional about everything that he does, and he has a 15 year plan. I watch him and I am amazed by him, but it doesn’t surprise me.”

What he has learned from Tom Brady:

“I would say that from watching him I have learned that he is not this scary guy who yells at people from the side-lines. He is a great teammate, really welcoming and a warm dude. He is a great guy to have around the locker room. You have seen the way his brand has changed now he has moved from New England to Tampa Bay, it’s like when a kid goes to college and never got to do anything fun in high school. I think that’s what we are seeing with Brady now, we get to see what he is like and it’s what teammates knew he was like years ago.”   

On how to keep your kids grounded:

“It’s tough. My dad didn’t have anything growing up, but had more as an NFL player in the 80’s.We make more money now than they would ever dream of making. But I think it helps that I have been through it, as far as how do you grow up relatively grounded in a situation where you could be an asshole. I don’t think it’s right, but you could easily fall into that trap. I have insulated my kids from making them feel like dad is special. But I think also reinforcing, whether it’s through service, or through experience, that not everyone lives like you do. Those are little things, and it does become hard to stay on top of it. One thing you think when you become a parent is that you will be focused entirely on how you raise your kids. But you are still figuring life out yourself, and you are a parent. That is one of the biggest surprises is that you can’t build a schedule on how to raise your kids, you kind of just have to work on the fly. But I think the person you are and the example you set, inevitably they will pick that up, so the pressure is on me. That and sprinkle some things into their lives so they don’t live in a bubble.”   

On one player that always gave him trouble:

“Bryan Bulaga was a guy that I really had trouble with. I never beat him for a sack and I had one of my worst games against him. The Packers came to play St. Louis, they came into town and I just had a bad plan for Bulaga. There are not a lot of games where I can say ‘I did not beat that guy.’ Bryan is a great player in the league, he really gave me fits.”

On what he is grateful for:

“My family, my health and good weed.”

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