PHILADELPHIA - Eagles defensive end Chris Long is donating his entire 2017 base salary, worth $1 million, to benefit educational charities.
Long, through the Chris Long Foundation, announced Wednesday that he will donate his next 10 game checks to organizations that support educational equality in the three cities that he has spent his 10-year career playing in - Philadelphia this season, Boston (New England Patriots) and St. Louis (the former St. Louis Rams).
The campaign, called "Pledge 10 for Tomorrow," also encourages fans and businesses to donate to match Long's contribution.
"In my 10th year, I want to celebrate the awesome opportunity I've had to play football by giving back to the communities that have given me that gift," Long said in a statement. "Educational opportunity and equity are the best gateway to a better tomorrow for everyone in America."
Earlier this season, Long announced that he was donating his first six game checks to fund scholarships to a private middle and high school in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia.
Long signed a two-year contract with the Eagles last spring. He received a $750,000 signing bonus at that time. If he's on the roster next season, Long will have a $1 million base salary, with a $1.25 million roster bonus.
Long has 2.0 sacks in six games this season as a reserve defensive end. He has played about 41 percent of the defensive snaps.
Long had never publicized his donations to charity before this season. But he said last month that he changed his mind this season because of the uproar involving the national anthem protests and violence during a Ku Klux Klan rally last summer in Charlottesville that led to the death of a woman protesting the rally.
Long said many critics questioned what those players speaking out about that incident and protesting during the anthem are actually doing to improve their communities.
"With everything that went down, a lot of talk about players improving their community and promoting diversity and equality, some questions were, 'What are you actually doing?'" Long told the News Journal last month. "And so, this is what I’m doing, and hopefully, it’s something we can continue to be involved in.
"The scholarships were going to happen anyway. But I think, to do it publicly, is kind of turning a negative into a positive. There are a lot of positives in (Charlottesville). We do want to promote diversity and equality and educational opportunity. That’s something I’ve been passionate about for a couple of years."
Long, who is white, has been a fervent supporter of teammate Malcolm Jenkins, who has raised his fist during the national anthem to protest racial injustices. Beginning in the preseason, Long has stood next to Jenkins, with his arm on Jenkins' shoulder during the anthem.
Long was in New York City on Tuesday, along with Jenkins, meeting with NFL owners and commissioner Roger Goodell about ways that the league can help the players' causes.
Long has also been outspoken on social media about politics and injustices.
"I always say what I wanted to say on social media," Long said. "But I was on a team (the Rams) that wasn’t winning a lot, so probably nobody noticed. So now they’re like, ‘Oh, you just started doing stuff?’ That’s the way I look at it. I’ve just said what I wanted to say. Now I’m in a new place, and people are like, ‘All of a sudden, he’s doing x, y, and z.’
"No. I’ve always just said what I wanted."
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