Ex-NFL standout Chris Long on Aaron Donald: ‘He’s the best football player in the world’ | TribLIVE.com

Ex-NFL standout Chris Long on Aaron Donald: ‘He’s the best football player in the world’

Chris Long said he knew in summer 2014, before Aaron Donald played one snap with the then-St. Louis Rams, that the former Pitt standout would be as good as he is.

“I would like to credit myself with being the first person know he was going to be amazing,” Long said with a smile during Part 4 of this week’s “Huddle Up with Gus” podcast. “We used to joke his rookie camp that he was going to be in the Hall of Fame, but I kind of wasn’t joking.”

Long, son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long, played his first eight seasons with the Rams, including 2014 and ‘15 — Donald’s first two seasons in the NFL. Long was drafted second overall in the 2008 NFL Draft out of Virginia and retired in May with 70 career sacks and 15 forced fumbles.

He called Donald “the best football player in the world, in my opinion.”

“I’ve never seen anybody work so hard, who had so much talent and play so violent and play with such tenacity,” he said. “This guy would fight you on the field at the drop of a hat, and I respect that about him, and outworks everybody.

“I would be the last person in the film room usually at the end of camp, and I would go in there and watch tape once everybody was at home. I started going in there an opening the door and turning the lights on to find my pen or notebook, and he was in there every night.”

Long said Donald and others who played at Pitt have an “edge.”

“From Avonte Maddox to Aaron to any of the guys I played with from Pitt, honestly, in their own ways, they have a great edge to them, a good confidence, a good edge, very confident right off the bat, pro ready,” he said. “And not to recruit for Pitt, but these guys are consistently great pros.”

Long said Donald, a Penn Hills graduate, takes a lot of pride in his roots.

“He’s a guy who doesn’t forget where he comes from,” he said.

Donald recently made a seven-figure donation to Pitt, the largest by a football letterman to the program.


Part 1: ‘Huddle Up:’ Ex-NFL great Chris Long retires to parents’ home – for now

Part 2: Podcast part 2: Chris Long recalls ‘shenanigans’ as a kid, college recruiting

Part 3: Podcast part 3: Faced with adversity, Chris Long ‘stuck it out’ to become All-American at Virginia


Coming Friday: Part 5 with Chris Long

Philadelphia Eagles’ Chris Long reacts to a play during an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Los Angeles.
Categories: Sports | NFL | Top Stories
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.