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DETROIT (AP) — T.J. Lang is switching sides in an NFC North rivalry — and returning to his roots.
The Detroit Lions agreed to a three-year deal with Lang, another significant move to bolster their offensive line in a busy offseason so far. Mike McCartney, Lang's agent, tweeted news of the contract Sunday. The Lions later confirmed that they had signed the free-agent guard, and made him available to reporters on a conference call.
"I've been away for so many years. This is where I grew up. I understand how fans around here are so hungry to have a championship football team. I was one of them when I was a kid," Lang said. "When this opportunity came about, I got really excited about it."
Lang, a native of the Detroit area, played college football at Eastern Michigan, but he's spent his entire pro career with the Green Bay Packers since being drafted by them in the fourth round in 2009. Lang started 13 games last season for the Packers, but now he'll return to his home state.
The Lions and Packers played for the division title in the final game of the regular season last season, with Green Bay winning on the road . Detroit made the playoffs as a wild card.
"It was the best move for my family and I, combined with my thoughts as just how ready Detroit was to win," Lang said.
Detroit also signed tackle Rick Wagner in recent days and could have an upgraded offensive line next season even after the departures of Riley Reiff and Larry Warford.
Lang recalled having Scott Mitchell and Charlie Batch jerseys growing up — and of course, watching one of football's greatest running backs.
"I think the first thing that sticks out is just the memories of watching Barry Sanders play, watching him run the ball," Lang said. "Watching Herman Moore catch those passes."
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