Now with Lions, Lang ready for return visit to Lambeau
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — T.J. Lang’s favorite memories of Lambeau Field fit nicely with the stadium’s broader reputation.
“Those late-season games when it’s zero degrees outside and everybody’s freezing,” Lang said Thursday. “I always took a great amount of joy in playing in those types of games, when the conditions are really, really bad. Just kind of makes it fun.”
Games such as that are what Lambeau is famous for — and although it may be a bit early in the season for frigid, icy conditions when Lang and the Detroit Lions play at Green Bay on Monday night, this will still be a significant moment for the veteran offensive lineman. Lang played eight seasons for the Packers before returning to his native Michigan this year and joining the Lions.
“Obviously, I played there for eight years. Made some great friendships there, great relationships with some people in Green Bay, and Lambeau is always a very special place for me and my family,” he said.
Lang is plenty familiar with the Packers and their iconic stadium. He knows all about the team and the fans — and the turf that could occasionally cause players to slip. He started 94 games for Green Bay, and Packers coach Mike McCarthy still thinks highly of him.
“T.J. is playing good. I don’t like the colors he’s wearing, but he looks good out there,” McCarthy said. “Frankly, in our breakdown with the personnel department and as a coaching staff, we feel he’s their best lineman and he’s having a good year.”
It remains to be seen whether Lang will be welcomed back by the Green Bay fans or treated as just another opposing player.
“I don’t think it was a relationship that ended on bad terms — certainly not from my end,” Lang said. “But you never know with fans. Obviously a division rival, they kind of forget pretty quick how long a guy played there. It is what it is. I don’t look for cheers, boos, it doesn’t matter to me. It’s not going to affect my mindset.”
The Lions signed Lang this past offseason, bringing him back to the Detroit area where he was born. He played college football at Eastern Michigan but had spent his entire pro career with the Packers after being drafted by them in the fourth round in 2009.
So there’s loyalty to both places, even if there’s no doubt which side Lang is on at the moment.
“I think the whole pregame might be a little different, being on the opposing sideline, but … I’ve never been a guy that really gets enamored with the crowd and the noise,” Lang said. “Just go out there and you focus on doing your job. But I’d be foolish to say that Green Bay wasn’t special for me.”
NOTES: OL Taylor Decker, who has not played this season because of a shoulder injury, has resumed practicing. Coach Jim Caldwell was asked if Decker might be able to play Monday. “We’ll see. I’m not putting any limitations on it,” Caldwell said. “It could be two weeks from now.