H-SPORTS

Jul 24, 2013 8:37 PM by Andrew Masuda

MB High grad Jerome Long focused on tackling opportunity with Cowboys

For the eighth time since 2001, the Dallas Cowboys are holding training camp in Oxnard. Los Osos native Jerome Long and the rest of the Cowboys completed day four of training camp on Wednesday at River Ridge in Oxnard. Long, a 6-4, 297 pound second year defensive end is wearing #99 with the Cowboys.

"It's going pretty well. I'm really liking the coaching style of the coaches I've got here and I'm really excited to be here," said Long, who added he always felt he had room for improvement.

Just being in camp is special for the 23 year old, who recalls something Morro Bay High football coach John andree told him years ago. "I remember coach Andree was talking about there's less than one percent of the football players in the world at every level gets a chance to play in the NFL. Just to think that I'm one of that less than one percent is something that's a great honor and a great opportunity and one that I don't want to let slip," said Long.

With 47 years of coaching experience, Monte Kiffin is the team's new defensive coordinator. He's installing a 4-3 defense this season. Long is one of 15 or so defensive linemen in camp. A few have already suffered injuries this week. Jerome practiced with the third string team on Wednesday.

"So far he's moving around pretty good. He picks things up pretty well and it's day by day now. But he's a tough guy and he works," said defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, who has 17 seasons of NFL experience himself.

Long spent his rookie season on the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad. He was on the active roster the final week of the regular season with Jacksonville. He's looking to tackle a spot on the Cowboys' final 53 man roster when camp breaks next month.

"That's definitely my goal is to make the team and help the team the best I can. So I wouldn't be here if I didn't think I had a chance," said Long, who was taken in the 7th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Chiefs out of San Diego State.

The Cowboys play their first preseason game on August 4 against the Miami Dolphins. They will be in Oxnard through August 15 and open the regular season September 8 in Dallas against the New York Giants.

NFL teams must reduce their 90 player rosters to 75 players by August 27. Their final active rosters must be cut to 53 by August 31.

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