Kyle Long supports bullied 9-year-old

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CHICAGO -- Bears Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long spent part of the weekend making good on a pledge he made to support 9-year-old Huntley, Illinois, resident Andrew Oyston, who has had to endure taunts from elementary school kids on the bus and in the classroom because of his weight for close to three years, according to his father.

"Apart from the fact that they are really big Bears fans, they just seem like really good people," Long told ESPNChicago.com on Monday. "You can only do and say so much to try and help your kid, but at a certain point you turn your child over to the school, and for most of the day, you just hope things go smoothly.

"Andrew is a really nice, smart and energetic kid. With any place, there is always going to be some bad apples that make things not go as well as you would like."

The bullying got so bad, said Andrew's father, Frank, that Andrew had to change schools.

Frank Oyston, who continues to search for ways to help his despondent son, has addressed the issue with the principal at Andrew's new school.

"It had reached the point where Andrew couldn't handle it anymore," Oyston told ESPNChicago.com on Monday. "He didn't know what to do. He didn't want to talk to anybody. The principal got involved and he obviously wasn't happy with it, but something had to happen because this wasn't stopping.

"As a parent, you want to do so much more in these situations, but you really can't. So I thought maybe I could get somebody else involved."

That somebody turned out to be Long, the Bears' 2013 first-round draft choice.

Oyston reached out to Long, an active participant on social media, on Twitter to see if he would help restore his son's confidence.

Long's response was immediate: "I'll ride the bus w him."

"I was shocked he got back to me so quick," Oyston said. "I sent the first tweet that said, 'I have a favor to ask of you because my son is being bullied on the bus,' and right after I sent that I started typing another tweet asking Kyle if he could just talk to Andrew, and before I could hit send, Kyle had already gotten back to me saying he would ride the bus. That's how fast it was. It was amazing."

It proved to be impractical for Long to show up at the fourth-grader's school or ride the bus with him, and the sides spent several weeks trying to pin down a time when Andrew and Long could speak face to face, once the 6-foot-6, 313-pound offensive lineman returned to the Chicago area from his offseason home in California.

"Initially I just saw a dad that was in a tough spot with a kid that was obviously going through some things," Long said 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].

"I wanted to jump on this as soon as I could. We took about a couple months for everything to come to fruition and for me to meet the kid. But it was worth it. It was good for both of us."

The long-awaited meeting occurred Saturday at a Chuck E. Cheese in Crystal Lake, Illinois, where the Oystons were celebrating their daughter Riley's 8th birthday.

"Thanks for letting me come hang, great kid!" tweeted Long, who included a Twitpic.

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