ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported yesterday that free agent offensive tackle Jake Long is scheduled to work out for the Atlanta Falcons for a second time in the past six weeks later this week on Thursday after traveling to Atlanta later today. Long was recently cleared by famed orthopedist Dr. James Andrews per Schefter to resume playing football after suffering a torn ACL last October while playing for the St. Louis Rams. Long worked out for the Falcons at the outset of their training camp and a number of other teams but was not signed by any in large part due to the health of his knee.
Long suffered a tear to his right ACL for the second consecutive year last October after making seven starts at left tackle for the Rams. Long joined the Rams in 2013 and had suffered the same injury two weeks before the end of that season. Long has dealt with a series of injuries since entering the league as the No. 1 pick of the Miami Dolphins in the 2008 draft, selected two spots ahead of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.
For his career, Long has started all 96 games he’s appeared in, but over the past four seasons has missed a combined 16 games due to injury and has yet to finish a year not on his respective team’s injured reserve since 2010.
Long didn’t miss a game in his first three seasons with the Dolphins, helping him earn three consecutive Pro Bowl bids and a reputation as one of the league’s premier left tackles. But during his third season in 2010 he suffered from issues involving his left knee and underwent shoulder surgery after that season. His 2011 season was cut short by a torn biceps after 14 games, but he had also been dealing with back problems throughout the year. Things started to look up beginning in 2012, but he then suffered a right knee injury just before the start of the regular season and wound up finishing the year on injured reserve with a torn triceps 12 games into the season.
The Falcons have been very proactive over the past week with addressing perceived weaknesses along the offensive line, trading for guard Andy Levitre and adding offensive tackle Bryce Harris and center Gino Gradkowski off waivers in recent days. Should the Falcons add Long and replace a current member of their offensive line it will mean that roughly half of their offensive line position group will have less than a week’s worth of experience with the team going into their regular season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football. Veteran tackle Tyler Polumbus might be the most vulnerable of the position group given he’s coming off a very lackluster training camp.