Remember Jake Long?
The former first overall pick and four-time Pro Bowler was an offensive tackle who spent the best years of his career as a member of the Miami Dolphins.
He’s of no relation to legendary defensive end Howie Long, or either of Howie’s kids (recent Super Bowl champion defensive end Chris Long and three-time Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long).
But according to Kyle (who, for what it’s worth, is Howie’s son and Chris’ younger brother), that didn’t stop the Bengals from incorrectly calling the Bears guard by the wrong name for an entire pre-draft team visit back in 2013.
I took my visit there they called me jake long the whole day so no I won't help them lol https://t.co/X7agQRYnFi— Kyle (@Ky1eLong) March 2, 2017
Before we all go off and make assumptions here, there are two possible reasons why the Bengals could’ve called Long by the incorrect name here.
The first reason, of course, is what I’d guess many fans would assume to be Cincinnati’s “rationale” for calling Long by the wrong first name: because the Bengals’ staff actually didn’t know Long’s name.
If that’s the case, there’s really not much to say. That would be incredibly concerning, because calling Long by the wrong name for an entire day either indicates the team either didn’t have any serious interest in Long (who ended up becoming a superstar player) or actually just did not do their research. Lose-lose scenario.
The second reason, which I’d venture to guess is the real reason why the Bengals’ staff called Long by the wrong name? Because the Bengals’ staff wanted to get under Long’s skin.
Whether it was intentional or unintentional, the Bengals definitely seemed to get under the guard’s skin. Getting called by the wrong name, at least in my opinion, is incredibly frustrating. I’ll be honest and admit that hearing or seeing my name messed up (whether audibly or phonetically) makes me irrationally angry — but in my defense, who can actually just brush off being called by the wrong name?
Anyways, this seems like something the Bengals wouldn’t be alone in doing. As NFLPA president and former Bengal (unless re-signed) Eric Winston said on PFT Live earlier this week (per Pro Football Talk), the general goal of the [NFL Combine] process is to “piss off” the players. This could explain why PFT’s Mike Florio believes Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster’s being sent home from the Combine was the result of being poked and prodded during his medical evaluation.
If this is actually the case — that the Bengals intentionally misnamed Long for the entire team visit just to see whether or not he’d pop off — I would have to hand it to Cincinnati’s staff. Being called by the wrong name, especially by the name of the one notable football player who shares Kyle’s last name and isn’t directly related to the Bears guard, would likely make me do something that would result in my name being removed from Cincinnati’s Draft board, had I been in Kyle’s shoes.
When it comes to trolling during the Combine, the Bengals — notorious for asking strange questions — might be the best of any NFL team.
What do you think?