Chris Long was grateful and also a bit taken aback by the support of former President Barack Obama, who tweeted about the Eagles defensive end's philanthropic efforts on Friday.
"It's silly to me to see a president mention my name," Long said. "It's surreal. Nothing but respect for the guy."
Back in October, Long announced his plan to donate his entire salary from the 2017 NFL season to fund scholarships in his hometown of Charlottesville, Va. However, the news was pushed back into the forefront when Obama shared it Friday, telling his 98.4 million followers it's a story to "remind us what's best about America."
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"That's an honor that that would fly across a former president's radar," Long said. "That's the whole point of trying to do good things in the community is spreading positivity, and it's an honor to be mentioned."
Long signed a two-year contract worth $4.5 million with the Eagles in March, with a base salary of $1 million in 2017. The 10th-year veteran intended to donate his first six game checks after protests over the removal of Confederate monuments in Charlottesville turned violent, resulting in one death.
"I've been lucky," Long said. "I made a lot of money playing a game and I've been humbled by the opportunity and just being able to continue to play football for a living.
"So while it's not an earth-shattering amount of money, it's more about, for me, doing what I love for something that's important to me than it is the actual number."
Long received a lot of attention in the wake of the response to the Charlottesville protests, justifiably so. The 32-year-old has used the tragedy as a platform to both discuss and address social issues, and has rightly been praised for his words and actions.
That being said, a more meaningful endorsement than a President's would be hard to come by.
"That's someone I have a lot of respect for, just the class he carried himself being the face of our nation," Long said.
"You don't have to agree with every single thing politically all the time, and that's kind of what we've gotten into doing as a country, politicizing everything, but I have a great deal of respect for him as a President and as a man and a family man. To see him pick that up on his radar is pretty cool for me."
Long's hope is Obama's endorsement can help propel charitable efforts even further.
"The guy has so much pull, and so much of a following," Long said. "The leader of the free world until a year ago, and did it for eight years, so when he tweets something about what we've been trying to accomplish off the field, it's gratifying. It means we're doing some good things, and hopefully, you just keep spreading the word."
Still, Obama's interest in Long's work isn't what he's most proud of. The Eagles defensive end says football fans have come very close to matching his pledge and will get there soon.
Even people who don't donate directly to Long's cause may be spurred to action.
"The coolest thing about all of this is the fact that fans have gotten in it," Long said. "And it might be a catalyst that somebody might see the story and be like, 'I want to do something along those lines, or do something to help in an area that I'm passionate about,' because we are, for better or worse, role models."
Despite using his platform to address social issues and garnering Obama's attention along the way, don't expect Long to make the jump from NFL player and philanthropist to politician when his playing days are over. While politics are always on his mind, it sounds like he'd prefer that wasn't the case.
At least for the time being, Long has another problem that needs to be addressed.
"Unfortunately, I think about them all the time because they suck for the most part," Long said, laughing. "I'm thinking about the Cowboys."