Four Questions with Gary Long, father of NFL kicker Ty Long

Today's interviewee is Gary Long, father of former Roswell and current Los Angeles Chargers kicker/punter Ty Long, who is slated to make his official NFL debut on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. Gary also is the father of Roswell's current kicker/punter, Caden Long. As for the family tradition, "I believe it all started when Ty would kick a small football at 3 years old off a toilet paper cardboard roll," Gary said.

Gary Long, father of NFL kicker Ty Long 

1. What is Sunday's game going to be like for you and your family? "The game will be greatly appreciated, maybe a little more than all the others due to the journey and process for Ty to get to this point in his career, yes very much appreciated. Ultimately, it's one of many games from rec ball, Junior Hornets, JV, varsity, college and professional CFL and NFL. To me they all carry the same importance and significance. They actually all create the same nerves and emotions as you want your child to do well to help his team win. We are headed to Los Angeles on Saturday as our youngest son has a game Friday night against Centennial. We will watch the game at the Chargers' stadium, Rokit Field, and see Ty before and after the game." 

2. What was most memorable about Ty's high school career? Was there a favorite memory or moment? "Most memorable would have to be the first-round playoff game at Roswell against Parkview High School with Roswell down by two and four seconds left. Ty hits a 52-or 53-yard walk-off game-winning field goal, Nov. 12, 2010. I think Parkview is still on the ground." 

3. You have another son on the team now. Does this bring back old memories? How have things changed? "Oh my gosh, yes. Caden, our youngest who is a junior at Roswell High, is almost 10 years younger than Ty, but God literally gave us a twin son to Ty 10 years apart. Caden is his own person, but they share so many characteristics physically and mentally. Watching Caden on the field playing for Roswell brings back many memories, but it's odd because it's like the movie 'Back to the Future.' The same but different. It's almost like we have been placed back in time, 2010. Caden looks and performs just like Ty. No change, just the same." 

4. When did you think or dream that Ty might make the NFL or play professionally? "During college as he was recognized as an NCAA FBS Freshman All-American and put three more solid seasons together to finish with many UAB records, including all-time points scoring leader, most field goals ever and longest field goal, which came against Ohio State, 54 yards at Ohio State. When he went to Washington in May 2015, we felt really good about his chances as he did very well the four months of May-August for preseason. But ultimately they went with the veteran. I believe they were nervous about going with a rookie. The key point is that he never stopped working and did not lose sight of his goal. He joined the Pittsburgh Steelers for five months of 2016 but then was released. And then the best thing to happen was the two seasons of 2017 and 2018 in the CFL with the B.C. Lions, where he would accomplish great success doing everything for the team as the field-goal specialist, punter and kickoff. In the 2017 CFL season, Ty was recognized as a West Division All-Star and overall CFL All-Star, and the same for 2018. In addition, he was the team's MOP/MVP and first runner-up for MOP of the entire CFL this past November. That has never happened for a specialist. Ty became a true professional because of Wally Buono, head coach of B.C., and Jeff Reinebold, special teams coach. Those two men created Ty the professional kicker/punter and person he is. We owe those two men very much." 

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