He handed his cell phone to a teammate, stood next to the bronze bust of fellow former Michigan tackle Dan Dierdorf and smiled for a snapshot.
Long, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, and the rest of the NFL's rookies are touring the Hall of Fame this summer as part of a program aimed at giving the league's youngest players a sense of history and responsibility.
"You see the great players that have come before you and everything that they've done for us to be here," Long said Monday. "It shows you more respect for the game. This is a spot where you hopefully want to end up. I think it definitely inspires us all."
The program was inspired by former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin, who told league Commissioner Roger Goodell last August during his induction in Canton that he wished someone had taken him through the Hall of Fame when he was a rookie.
Goodell took it to heart.
"These guys playing today have no idea what it was like in the '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, even the '80s," said Mike Haynes, the league's vice president of player and employee development.
The NFL will review the program later and decide whether to continue it next year as part of the league's rookie orientation, Haynes said.
Horrigan led the Dolphins' tour, along with former Miami wide receiver Nat Moore, who paused at a display honoring the team's 17-0 season in 1972.
"The key to that team was they were a team first and foremost," Moore told the Dolphins rookies, who must help turn around a team that went 1-15 last year.
Upon entering the Hall of Fame room containing the busts of NFL greats, the rookies learned that, of 20,000 to play in the league, only 214 players have made it to the Hall.
While quarterback Chad Henne stood next to the bust of Dan Marino for a photo, a group of players gathered around a video screen to watch film of Walter Payton breaking tackles, drawing the occasional "Oooh."
The tour got more serious as Horrigan told the story of how Marion Motley and Bill Willis broke the color barrier in 1946 -- a year before Jackie Robinson did in baseball.
"A lot of people have suffered and done a lot of things to get you the opportunity that you have today," Moore said.
He warned players not to take their positions for granted.
"At one point, Michael Vick was going to be the poster child of the NFL. What did he do? Something dumb to take himself out of the game," said Moore, referring to Vick's 23-month prison sentence for bankrolling a dogfighting ring.
"I'm excited to be a part of the change that Atlanta is going through right now," he said. "It's not just me. It's going to take a lot of work from a lot of different areas and contributions from a lot of different people."
"It puts things into perspective," Ryan said of his visit. "It makes you realize that you've got a great opportunity in front of you."
The players got some time to be fans as well. Like Long, the Lapeer, Mich., native who made sure to snap a photo of a blue No. 20 Lions jersey.
"Seeing Barry Sanders in here is what I really like, because I grew up a big Lions fan and a huge Barry fan," Long said.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press