Detroit Lions: T.J. Lang having fun playing for his hometown team
When the Detroit Lions signed free agent guard T.J. Lang this offseason, they were not just filling a team need but fulfilling a childhood dream.
Rarely do professional athletes, particularity in the NFL, get to play for their hometown team. Despite dreams of wearing their favorite team’s jersey they had as a child, the NFL Draft and the business side of football often keep those childhood fantasies at bay.
For former Green Bay Packers offensive guard T.J. Lang, it was a Detroit Lions‘ Scott Mitchell jersey. Born in Royal Oak, Michigan, Lang attended high school in White Oak before transferring an hour east to Birmingham.
Lang went to college at Eastern Michigan before being selected in the fourth round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Lions’ divisional foe, the Packers. During his eight seasons in Green Bay, Lang started in a total of 94 games, helped the Packers win a Super Bowl in 2010 and earned his very first Pro Bowl nomination just last year.
This offseason, the 29-year old free agent decided he’d make his childhood dream come true and play for his hometown team, the Lions. Lang signed a three-year, $28.5 million to come back home in March.
"“It was fun,” Lang told the Detroit Free Press when asked about participating in his first training camp practice as a Lion. “It’s great driving in here every day. I think I’ve said it when I signed, I think every kid dreams of playing for their hometown team and now it’s a reality for me. But at the end of the day, that kind of washes away pretty quick and you get your mind back on football and trying to improve.”"
This offseason, Detroit lost the entire right side of their starting offensive line to free agency. The Lions’ brass quickly filled those voids by signing Lang and fellow free agent tackle Ricky Wagner. The team is hoping their new additions to the O-line will not only improve their running game, but also better protect their franchise quarterback, Matthew Stafford.
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Although it’s awesome to hear that T.J. Lang gets to play for his hometown team, the reality is the Detroit Lions really needed the upgrade along their offensive line. But if Lang’s passion and love for the Lions helps his play on the field, it’s a win-win for all involved.