TJ Lang was in tears as he was carted to the locker room during the third quarter of the NFC Championship game. It was not the pain that hit Lang the hardest, but the possibility that it was his final game as a Green Bay Packer. A deal has yet to be reached and the longer it takes to resign him the more comprehensible it becomes.
“That’s the first thing going through my mind after I hurt my foot again,” Lang said. “I’m just hoping it wasn’t the last time I get to put on that helmet.”
The 29 year old right guard told Sirius XM NFL Radio that he is still waiting to hear from Packers personnel about a new deal. The Packers have until March 7th to negotiate before Lang can pursue employment elsewhere.
When the Packers parted ways with Josh Sitton before the season, Lang became the lead bull in the trenches. A role he absorbed brilliantly. Pro Football Focus ranked Lang 94th among all NFL players in 2016. He also went to his first Pro Bowl this season meaning plenty of interest will be out there.
He accomplished all this despite injury. A broken left foot week 10 vs Tennessee caused him to miss the next three games. He returned for Seattle and continued his impressive campaign.
Lang is the old school lineman Coach Lombardi would have loved to coach. He shows up every game and fights for every inch.
However the fact is, Lang is not getting any younger and injuries are still a concern. He has a bum foot that still needs to heal and the hips of a man twice his age. He is going to have hip surgery at some point this offseason to correct a “genetic problem.” A problem he says has gotten worse because of football.
The Packers are loyal to their guys. Especially ones who hold up the integrity this franchise was built upon.
After cutting Sitton the Packers signed left tackle David Bakhtiari to a four-year extension. The same is probably not coming for Lang, but a two-year deal for a grinder who does not want to play anywhere else is not inconceivable.