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Extension doesn't alter outlook for Lang

Nov. 6, 2013
 
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T.J. Lang studied criminal justice at Eastern Michigan University. He wasn't a business major. So when the first offer for a contract extension came across the table from the Green Bay Packers, the 6-foot-4, 318-pound left guard was ready to sign away. That’s when his agent, Mike McCartney, stepped in and told him it doesn’t really work that way. “I was ready to take the first deal, but of course my agent had to explain some things to me and talk about some structural stuff,” said Lang with a smile. Following roughly five weeks of negotiations, Lang arrived at Lambeau Field Tuesday morning to make it official, signing a four-year contract extension that will keep him in Green Bay through the 2016 season. Following the departure of Darryn Colledge, Lang won the Packers’ starting left guard position during last year’s training camp and hasn’t let go. A month shy his 25th birthday, Lang figures to play into the team’s offensive line situation for years to come. According to Press-Gazette reporter Rob Demovsky, the contract is worth $20.8 million with a $5.5 signing bonus. With that money, Lang plans to buy a house for his mother and his three younger brothers. It’s been a challenging year for Lang, who lost his father, Tom, earlier this year after being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness in November. Although his parents were divorced, the ability to provide for his family is something Lang treasures, especially with his mom raising his three younger brothers, ages 14 and 13-year-old twins, as a single parent. “She's always been a hard worker,” Lang said. “I grew up in a family that never really had a lot of money. It's just something for her. I'm so appreciative of her that's the best way I can show my appreciation for her. And I've talked to her about it before. I think not only is this helping me out a ton, it allows me to help my family out, which I really care about." On personal level, Tuesday's contract signing brought everything full circle for Lang. During his first two years in Green Bay, Lang estimates he went out three or four nights a week, but things changed following the birth of his son, John. At that point, he eliminated the outside distractions and rededicated himself to proving what he has to offer on the football field. Now that his ship has come in, Lang doesn't see that mindset changing. "I've never been a money guy," Lang said. "I'm here because I love to play the game. That's 100 percent honesty. Honestly, I was kind of nervous looking through the deal because that's more money than I've ever seen or could ever imagine, and making sure I put that away and don't even really think about it. Just continue to have my focus on improving as a left guard and as a better teammate. That's what my focus is on now." -whodkiew@greenbaypressgazette.com and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.

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