T.J. Lang eager to return for contract year
GREEN BAY - He didn’t flip over tables in the training room, but Green Bay Packers right guard T.J. Lang wasn’t pleased when he was placed on the physically unable to perform list to start camp.
Lang had shoulder surgery after the playoffs last season and missed the entire offseason program. He expected to participate at the start of camp, but instead was one of six players listed on PUP.
For a month, Lang said, his shoulder has felt “really good.” He has lifted weights, hit dummy pads, worked the sleds, even participated in "punching drills" where he fully extends his arms. Regardless, the Packers' medical staff decided to be cautious, the usual approach for players who had offseason surgery.
“I was disappointed when they put me on the list Monday,” Lang said Thursday, “but I understand it. I understand being cautious about it. It doesn’t mean I have to like the decision or agree with it, but it’s not my decision to make. So I’m on board with it.
“I feel like I can go out, practice tomorrow. We just have to wait, and leave it up to doc and the trainers, and just get on board with whatever decision they make.”
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Lang is entering a critical year for himself. His contract expires at season’s end, at which time he’ll be 29.
Though he has never been selected to the Pro Bowl, Lang has been considered one of the league’s better guards over the past few seasons. He could receive a substantial salary on the open market, perhaps the final big contract of his career.
Naturally, his urgency has increased entering 2016.
“I think that plays a part,” Lang said. “I think with the contract coming up, I want to be on that field every chance I can. I don’t think it matters how long you’ve been doing this for, how old you are. I think everybody feels they still have to prove themselves, and that’s something that people would like to have that chance to do. So, yeah, I think that definitely plays a role.”
Lang doesn’t expect to be out much longer. He targeted Monday as his personal deadline for when he’d like to return, but also said he would like to participate in Family Night on Sunday.
“I told them,” Lang said, “if I’m out for over a week, then I won’t be happy. So hopefully I can get a chance to get out this weekend and practice a little bit.”