I am not Kyle Long

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears

Have you seen this man? Yeah, so … he is not me. Also, he (probably) does not drive an Uber.

I am not Kyle Long.

I stand 6 feet and 5 inches, and I weigh more than 300 pounds.

But I am not Kyle Long.

I maintain a (mostly) hairless scalp and a close-cropped, dark beard.

Still, I am not Kyle Long.

I play football. Well, played football. In high school. Poorly. OK, maybe a little better than poorly, but certainly not well enough to earn a scholarship to play football for the University of Oregon or to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft. As a sportswriter, I jabbered about NFL styles, schemes and personnel for years. But doing it myself? I couldn’t pick up a blitzing linebacker to save Mitch Trubisky’s ass. Not if my life depended on it.

Also, I am not the son of a Pro Football Hall of Famer.

Then again, I am not Kyle Long.

It’s true: I live in Chicago. Or near Chicago, anyhow. But I pay roughly zero attention to the Chicago Bears, let alone draw a paycheck from the organization. Instead, among my many frivolous pursuits, I drive an Uber. And because I’m an out-of-shape, middle-age semi-cripple, my back and knees—already raging against the dying of the light—are smugly unresponsive after a long shift in the Sonata. So I can’t imagine why, if I were Kyle Long, I’d want to drive around Greater Chicago for hours, ferrying strangers to and from Moneygun and D.S. Tequila Company and goddamn Skooter’s Roadhouse, after having my pelvis ground into paste by J.J. Watt for 40 plays on an autumn Sunday.

But then again, neither, I’m sure, does Kyle Long.

Thing is, I can sort of see the resemblance. A little:


But I feel comfortable enough in the knowledge of who I am that I can declare with absolute certainty that I am not, nor have I ever been, Kyle Long.

And yet, what gets me out of bed every morning is the singular hope that somewhere, in some press conference or grocery store or communal ice bath, Kyle Long is being asked, “Hey, man, has anyone ever told you that you look like Jason Langendorf? Are you Jason Langendorf? C’mon, write something funny and humiliating for us. Give us a puke story, Uber Duder!”

Alas, for as long as I live, I will never truly know that joy.

Because I am not Kyle Long.