T.J. Lang’s time as a Detroit Lion has come to an end, as the veteran guard was released by the team on Friday.
“We would like to personally thank T.J. Lang for his two seasons with the Lions," Lions general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia said in a joint statement. “He represented everything you could want from a football player and team captain."
“We all publicly saw him perform on the field at a very high level, but what was seen in the building every day was a player who had great leadership, professionalism and passion for the game of football. It meant a lot for T.J. to play in his home city and we have the utmost respect for him as a man. We wish T.J. and his family all the best in the future.”
Lang, who was born in Royal Oak and played his high school football at Birmingham Brother Rice and then collegiately at Eastern Michigan University, grew up a Lions fan and joined his hometown team in free agency before the 2017 season. He spent his first eight seasons in the league with the Green Bay Packers after they selected him in the fourth round of the 2009 NFL Draft.
Lang, 31, was a Pro Bowler for the Lions in 2017, but injuries derailed his 2018 season. He suffered a concussion in Dallas Week 4 and was eventually placed on IR with a neck injury after playing in a career-low six games. He missed a total of 13 games due to injury in his two seasons with the Lions.
His release creates an opening at the starting right guard spot for the Lions. Veterans Kenny Wiggins and Joe Dahl are under contract for the 2019 season. Wiggins started all 10 games that Lang missed in 2018.
The Lions are also high on second-year lineman Tyrell Crosby, though they’ve been grooming him to play tackle. It’s unclear if Lang’s release could bump him inside to play guard, which is in his skill set.
Frank Ragnow, who played all but one snap last season at left guard, could also flip to the right side. Detroit could also try to address the position next week when free agency begins or in next month’s NFL Draft.