Former No. 1 overall pick Jake Long: 'I'm finally healthy'

ByMichael Rothstein ESPN logo
Sunday, June 19, 2016

ANN ARBOR, Mich. --Jake Longhasn't been this healthy in years. And now, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2008 draft is ready to play and find a new team.

"I'm finally healthy," Long told ESPN on Saturday before coaching at the University of Michigan Big Man camp. "This is the healthiest and best I've felt in probably about five, six years. My knee's back. I've just been working out, feeling good and ready for the opportunity when it comes along."

The 31-year-old said he wants to continue playing football despite being a free agent. Long was drafted in 2008 by Miami and became a four-time Pro Bowler and an All-Pro in 2010. Knee injuries derailed his time with the St. Louis Rams, when he tore his right ACL in 2013 and again in 2014. He spent last season with Atlanta, where he appeared in four games and started none.

Not playing a ton of snaps last season gave him time to rest -- something he believes will help him now. He also cut weight, down to 308 pounds -- a weight he said he feels good at. He worked out for the Bears earlier this month, but he was not immediately signed. He knows he needs to prove to teams he is still healthy despite hurting his knee twice.

He said he knows he's healthy because he can sense it.

"When I wake up and my knee doesn't hurt, you know what I mean," Long said. "I feel the strength back. You can see it. You can feel it. My body feels good the way I'm moving, working out and how good I feel moving on it.

"It's as easy as that."