BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady joked earlier this week that he hoped former teammate Chris Long "respects his elders" in Super Bowl LII if he has a chance to hit him, but Long said Thursday that he doesn't have plans to acquiesce.
"You can't take it easy on the GOAT," said the Philadelphia Eagles defensive end, who spent the 2016 season as Brady's teammate in New England. "He's a helluva dude and a helluva player. He's trying to play a mind game with me. It's that Jedi mind trick."
Long, along with running back LeGarrette Blount, are looking to join the small group of players who won back-to-back Super Bowls with different teams. It's a group headlined by Ken Norton Jr. (Dallas Cowboys, 1993; San Francisco 49ers, 1994) and Deion Sanders (49ers, 1994; Cowboys, 1995). The last player to accomplish the feat was cornerback Brandon Browner, who did so with the Seattle Seahawks in 2013 and Patriots in 2014.
Long, 32, signed with the Eagles as a free agent in the offseason to return to more of a pure defensive end role in a 4-3 defense. He knows the 40-year-old Brady well.
"He's a great, great player and I look forward to competing against him," he said Thursday, pointing out that he has only had one career game against Brady, a 45-7 loss in the 2012 season when Long was with the St. Louis Rams. "You can't take it easy on him. He knows that. He's not going to take it easy on us ... One of the big matchups will be Tom against our defense."
Last year with the Patriots, Long played 65.1 percent of the defensive snaps during the regular season, which was the highest total among players at the position. He had a more limited role in Super Bowl LI as a designated pass-rusher, playing just 15 snaps, but he drew a critical holding penalty that was instrumental in the Patriots' second-half comeback from a 28-3 deficit, as it knocked the Atlanta Falcons out of field-goal range.