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Chicago Bears Lineman Offers Support to Bullied Nine-Year-Old

Bullies now have to think twice before targeting 9-year-old Andrew Oyston, an elementary school student from Huntley, Ill., thanks to Chicago Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long.

Andrew's father, Frank, reached out to Long in early April on Twitter, sharing the story of his son's travails on the school bus:

Long replied less than 20 minutes after Frank reached out to him:

"Initially I just saw a dad that was in a tough spot with a kid that was obviously going through some things," Long told ESPN Chicago this past Monday. "As somebody that didn't have the best elementary and middle school experience, I can relate a lot to what Andrew is going through. I didn't know his specific situation, but the riding of the bus deal was kind of tough for me as well [as a child]."

Though riding the bus never came to fruition, Long and Andrew's father traded direct messages on Twitter for nearly a month, per FOX Sports, before settling on a date on which Long could come and meet Andrew. And thus, this past Saturday, Long made an appearance at a birthday party for Andrew's sister at Chuck E. Cheese.

Andrew's father, Frank, told ESPN Chicago that Long came back with the family to their house at the conclusion of the party, volunteering to go in their backyard and throw a football around. "That was the kids' favorite part," Frank said.

"There was no point and time when we sat down and had a serious conversation," Long told ESPN Chicago, referring to Andrew. "He just needed somebody to hang out with and have a strong male presence, like an older brother-type deal. If that's the role that needs to be played, I have no problem with that. He's a really great kid."

Long's generosity is earning some well-deserved praise. The Northwest Herald's editorial board wrote the following about the Bears lineman: "Many kids look at professional athletes - rightly or wrongly - as role models. Few athletes rise to the level of such consideration. It appears Long, who is the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long, rises to such a level."

With a 6'6", 313-pound man now firmly in his corner, bullies might want to reconsider picking on Andrew. After all, Long has 52 other equally massive teammates to call upon if necessary.

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