The Marty Smith Podcast: Former NFL Pro Chris Long Shares His Love for Country Music, Including Willie, Waylon, and The Highwaymen

by Chris Haney

During his recent appearance on The Marty Smith Podcast, former NFL pro Chris Long opened up about his long-lasting love for country music, especially outlaw country artists like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and their supergroup The Highwaymen.

Here at Outsider, we love all things country music, and so do the guys on The Marty Smith Podcast. So it was only natural that their conversation diverted from sports at one point to cover our favorite music genre as well. While many fans of the genre may enjoy every era of country, Chris Long leans towards the old school artists. In fact, when host Marty Smith asked Chris who his hero is, the two-time Super Bowl champion surprised everyone when he said country icon Willie Nelson.

“Oh shoot, man. I mean it’s probably… it’s that dinner table question, and he’s still alive. It’s Willie Nelson, dude. It’s probably Willie Nelson,” Chris Long answered on The Marty Smith Podcast.

However, the former defensive end’s love for country music doesn’t stop there. He’s also a huge fan of Willie’s old friend and fellow country legend Waylon Jennings. So much so that Chris named his son Waylon. But if Willie is his hero, why didn’t he name him Willie? Chris explains the hilarious and valid reason why he and his wife passed on naming their son after the “Pancho and Lefty” singer. Don’t worry though, they made up for it by naming their dog Willie.

“And yea, I have a son named Waylon,” Chris said.

“Was that an internal conflict for you? Was it between Willie and Waylon?” Marty Smith asked.

“Well there’s a lot to live up to when your name is Willie Long,” Chris said as everyone laughed. “So Marty, not that he wouldn’t have. But Marty, I have a dog named Willie for that reason, right? He doesn’t have to go to school and tell people [his full name].”

Chris Long Explains Stages of His Life According to The Highwaymen on ‘The Marty Smith Podcast’

Chris Long went on to explain in further detail the distinction between his love for Willie and Waylon and other outlaw country artists. He thinks he went through stages of his life that relate to each of the four members of the supergroup The Highwaymen (Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson).

“So Waylon for me, Waylon is a really cool name. I just love the name,” Chris Long shared on The Marty Smith Podcast. “I also at that point, I think when you look at The Highwaymen, there are stages in your life that you go through and you are all those people for a little while. And in my 20s when I was just nuts, I was more Waylon. And I’m in a Willie stage, man. So Willie’s probably my hero.”

Marty adds that “Highwayman” is one of the greatest songs of all-time. That’s when co-host Wes Blankenship asked Chris Long what his favorite verse is on the supergroup’s hit track.

“I feel like Johnny definitely stole the show,” Chris responded. “He got to fly a starship. I got chills right now, dude… I would say Willie though. Cause just like Willie, it’s a cool, calm verse but he also lets you know like I’m not to be messed with. You know because he’s laid a couple folks down along the road. And so I think Willie’s is maybe my favorite verse outside of Johnny’s.”

The guys talk about much more with Chris Long on the newest episode of The Marty Smith Podcast. Make sure to check out their entire conversation below, or listen to the full interview on Spotify, Apple, or wherever else you listen to your favorite podcasts.