T.J. Lang coming home to Detroit Lions on 3-year deal

DETROIT, MICH. - The visits are over, and now T.J. Lang has made his decision.

Lang, the former Birmingham Brother Rice and Eastern Michigan star, agreed to a three-year contract with the Detroit Lions on Sunday, his agent Mike McCartney tweeted.

Lang replaces Larry Warford as the Lions' starting right guard, and joins new right tackle Rick Wagner as the Lions' two big free-agent additions this off-season.

Lang told the Free Press on Sunday morning he was deciding between the Lions, Seattle Seahawks and his old team the Green Bay Packers, and that his decision would come down to where was the best place to raise his young family.

"The easy part is we narrowed down to these three teams because I really felt like all three of these teams are ready to win now and ready to compete and ready to contend for championships," Lang said. "So that’s not anything that I’m really thinking about. I really feel strong about all three of those teams.

"Right now it’s just, I think the biggest thing is it’s not just me making a decision on where I want to go play, what team I want to play for, what city I want to live in. It’s more for my family. My son is going to be in first grade this year, my daughter’s growing up. It’s trying to narrow down every single scenario and we did a lot of homework."

Lang, 29, played the past eight seasons with the Packers and is coming off a Pro Bowl year.

He underwent hip surgery six weeks ago that kept him out of the Pro Bowl and confirmed to the Free Press what Packers coach Mike McCarthy said at the NFL combine in early March, that he'll probably miss all of the off-season program.

Still, Lang said he received good news from all of the team doctors he visited last week.

"That was the biggest reason why I took the visits just because teams wanted to see the hip, teams wanted to see the X-rays, the MRIs, they wanted to see how I was doing up to this point," Lang said. "And everything I got from everywhere I went, from Green Bay's doctors to Detroit’s doctors to Seattle’s doctors, everybody was really pumped about it. They’re like, 'Yep, the hip honestly from where you’re at from six weeks (out of surgery), it looks great.'

"I think everybody knows that it’s going to be another couple months until I’m back running around on the field, so it probably won’t be until training camp. But I think being a veteran guy and being a guy that’s played a lot of football, I don’t think that scared any of them away."

Last year, Lang missed the Packers' off-season program after shoulder surgery, and still had arguably the best season of his career.

"And that was even with a bad hip, so I just really made it clear that this is the first year probably in three or four seasons that I’ll be going into training camp feeling really, really good and I’m really excited about that because I’ve always had something," Lang said. "This year, I got the shoulder fixed, I got the hip fixed, we’re going to be going full throttle and I really think that teams believe me on that and really it wasn’t much of a factor, as big of a factor as I thought it was going to be."

Lang said last week was a "hellacious" one for him, with trips to Green Bay and Seattle sandwiching a Thursday night visit to the Lions.

Fans looking for clues about his decision wondered why he followed the Seahawks on Twitter, but Lang said he was having fun with the process.

“I think everybody kind of knows my personality, I like to have fun with it," Lang said. "But I did, I had a great trip out there, great visit out there. Spoke to a lot of guys from the team. I don’t know, maybe I should go follow the Dallas Cowboys then people will start questioning if they’re going to cut Zach Martin. But no, it was something I was just obviously having fun with. This whole process has been so stressful I’ve had to find my own ways to ease the tension a little bit and get people a little riled up every now and then so I can crack a little laugh, a little chuckle."

MORE: Blue-collar work ethic binds new Lions RT Rick Wagner to Detroit

MORE: Detroit Lions' O-line focus in free agency shows where priorities are

Contact Dave Birkett: dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

© 2017 Detroit Free Press


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