After saying he would return to the NFL to play last season, it looks like Detroit Lions’ star tackle is hanging up his cleats. Pro-bowler TJ Lang has chosen to move away from the sport. His recent neck injury seems to be enough warning for him to know, ‘it’s time.’
“I think everybody wants to have a chance to go out on their own terms and I’m no different,” Lang said to reporters after the 2018-19 NFL season.
He continued, “But like I said, I’m not going to make a decision one way or the other anytime soon.”
It looks like his way is now. Only playing 6 games in the past season, Lang was dealing with a prolonged neck injury. Not only suffering from a very basic form of forward head posture, he’s rumored to also be suffering from other minor pains, not yet noted publicly. And anyhow, even if those rumors are false, reinjuring his neck could be catastrophic to his future health.
In the past 2 years, Lang’s been working with doctors, team trainers, and chiropractors. According to him in a video press conference, they approved him to play (see below). He had no early signs of the dreaded CTE plaguing the NFL and TJ has been clear to note he wants no part of it. He’s conversed with fellow athletes suffering from the disease caused by hard-hits and brain trauma. What was said in those conversations made him more keen to his own health but what details he was given, were kept private.
His Contract Was New…
Lang’s neck injury was not considered career ending in November of 2018. The NFL star was put on injured reserve, however. The 31-year-old had just signed with the Detroit Lions the prior year. He inked a $28.5-million-dollar contract with the team, after playing 8 seasons with the Green Bay Packers 8 seasons.
A native of Royal Oak, Michigan, he was excited to play ball in his home state. However, the football play became tough on the 30-something footballer, facing injury after injury. He suffered a concussion and multiple foot injuries according to ESPN.
Football Injuries Plaguing The League
Neck injuries in the NFL are quite common. Some of the worst ones, however, have been quite brutal [see 25 here]. Players have been forced into retirement from hard hits that dislocated spines, caused mental delays, and loss of memory. More fortune players have been able to walk away just fine. The number of players retiring early today should be unsettling for young men who love the sport, but youth is usually driven by passion and adventure over intelligence. Also, the stories of men walking away with just the forward head posture would likely champion the argument of dangers to the game.
In conclusion of his career, however, TJ Lang is happy about his achievements. He’s played with one of the greatest offensive lines of his generation. As a Green Bay Packer, he was voted to the elite Pro-Bowl game.
And last, he got to finish out his career in front of the people of the state from which he was born. Hopefully, his decision will lead to a happy, healthy future, dodging the league-scaring CTE disease. It also frees time for him to spend with his young son and family.