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Bears Award 3-Time Pro Bowl Guard Kyle Long 4-Year Extension

By Chris Emma--

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) -- The Bears have locked in one of their most indispensable players in Kyle Long through the 2021 season. The team officially announced its four-year extension for the three-time Pro Bowl guard on Wednesday.

Terms weren't made official by the Bears, but reports valued the contract at $40 million, with $30 million guaranteed.

"Kyle is extremely talented, a great teammate and more than deserving of this contract," Bears general manager Ryan Pace said in a statement. "He is a big piece of the foundation we are building and we only expect him to continue to get better. We are excited to announce this long-term commitment to Kyle."

Long, 27, has made the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons, joining the likes of seven Bears greats to achieve that, including Dick Butkus, Gale Sayers and Brian Urlacher.

Ever since arriving with the Bears franchise, Long has held a great appreciation for the franchise's history. He's proud to be a part of it long term.

"I've known since day one that I wanted to be a Chicago Bear for life," Long said.

Long returned from a shoulder injury Monday after missing two weeks. He projects to play in Sunday's season opener in Houston against the Texans.

With Sunday's release of kicker Robbie Gould, Long is now the third-longest-tenured current Bears player, behind only quarterback Jay Cutler and receiver Alshon Jeffery. Cutler is locked into a seven-year deal, though is working through the third and final season of guaranteed money. Jeffery is playing out the 2016 season under the franchise tag.

Now, Long is part of the Bears organization through 2021, and he's looking even longer than that.

"I want to retire a Chicago Bear," Long said.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago's sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670 and like his Facebook page.

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