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Dolphins LB David Long: Mike Vrabel's durability comments were 'a surprise to me'

3/23/2023 3:33:31 PM
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The Tennessee Titans' late-season collapse, which cost them a chance at a third consecutive division title, came with a host of players nursing injuries.

After the disappointing campaign ended, Titans coach Mike Vrabel took a shot at two players, specifically, cornerback Kristian Fulton and linebacker David Long, for missing time due to injuries. Apparently, the coach believed they were injuries that could have been avoided.

"We look at soft-tissue injuries. We look at those soft-tissue injuries of repeat offenders," Vrabel said in early January. "It doesn't take too hard to look and see, you know, Kristian Fulton and David Long, they're repeat offenders of soft-tissue injuries. They have to figure out a way to train and act like -- this game's played at a high speed. Kevin Byard hasn't pulled a hamstring since we've been here. There's a durability factor to playing professional football. And we should not overlook. That's real. There's guys that are durable and guys that aren't."

The label that Long wasn't durable enough followed the linebacker into free agency. It's the main reason he signed a two-year, $11 million deal with the Miami Dolphins. Sans the injury questions, Long is worth way more than that deal suggests.

During his introductory news conference in South Beach, Long said he was surprised by Vrabel's comments but not letting them bother him in Miami, Kevin Patra of reports.

"If you watch film since my rookie year to the end of this year, every play, I lay it out on the line," Long said Wednesday. "So that was a surprise to me. I feel like it kind of created a narrative a little bit as far as how I take care of my body. If you ask anybody, I'm a first one in and last guy out type of guy. So I know he knows that as well. It really just put a bigger chip (on my shoulder) because I know what type of player I am. That wasn't discussed to me, as well. So it was a lot. I took it with a grain of salt. I'm not really much a media person like 'why did you single me out or whatever.' I'm going to roll with it and I'm just going to get back to work."

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