Bears' Long: Time away set me back

Chicago Bears rookie guard Kyle Long said Thursday that his absence from the offseason program set him back in his acclimation to the NFL.

"I feel like that did a lot of damage to my opportunity to come in and establish myself early," Long said on "The Carmen & Jurko Show" on ESPN Chicago 1000. "There's a ton of learning that's been done in the last week. I feel like the growth has been exponential. But I've got to keep learning from the guys around me and keep immersing myself in that playbook. I was able to look in my playbook when I was home but I was not able to actually run through the plays. So getting out there and being physical and getting to see it right in front of me has actually been very helpful."

Long, drafted in the first round out of Oregon, was forced to skip the Bears' offseason program as part of an NFL/NCAA rule that prohibits draft picks from participating until their college's spring semester is complete.

Long, who figures to start at right guard, still found a way to stay connected with the Bears during veteran minicamp, using Skype to sit in on meetings.

He said relying on technique instead of just brute strength has been the biggest adjustment from college to the NFL for him.

"In college I could just grab people and just kind of do what I wanted with guys," Long said. "You find out that everybody here can do that and it comes down to technique. You need to be extremely crafty with your technique and there's a lot of tricks I'll pick up in meetings. I'll see [Roberto] Garza do something on film and I'll be like 'What the heck was that?' Thirteen years in the NFL you learn stuff like that. To be around guys like that is a tremendous opportunity."