St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long (91) during a preseason NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Chris Long is using some of his NFL earnings to help pay for the new indoor practice facility being constructed on Grounds at Virginia.
The school announced on Thursday that Long, a former All-American at Virginia who is in his fifth season with the St. Louis Rams, has made a $300,000 contribution to the construction of the George Welsh Indoor Practice Facility.
“I am so proud to be a part of a brotherhood like the Virginia Football program,” Long said in the school's release announcing the gift. “I am completely committed to helping Coach London build this program and I know it's going to take time and hard work to do it the right way."
Long was the second overall pick in the 2008 Draft by the Rams, after becoming the third unanimous All-American in program history after his senior year at Virginia in 2007. Long was also named the ACC defensive player of the year, and he won the Ted Hendricks Award as the best defensive end in the country.
"Some of my greatest memories were experienced at UVa working with my teammates to set a standard of excellence on the field that my university could be proud of," Long said. "Virginia football players of the future deserve this same opportunity and the construction of this facility goes a long way towards ensuring that reality.”
“I’m extremely grateful to Chris for his contribution to the indoor facility,” said Virginia head coach Mike London," who was Long's position coach for the 2004, 2006, and 2007 seasons. "I know he still bleeds orange and blue and is very proud of the Virginia program and wants to see us succeed. This gift helps to make that happen."
According to athletic director Craig Littlepage, Long's gift is the largest contribution the school has ever received from an active professional athlete.
"He was the epitome of a great college football player when he played for us and this generous gift shows that he didn’t stop being that when he his career ended here," said London. "He was a difference maker for us as a player and now he’s doing it again as an alum.”
Construction on the 78,000-square foot indoor practice facility began last summer, and the project is expected to be completed next spring. The projected cost of the project is $14.5 million.