Former Lions guard T.J. Lang opts for retirement

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
T.J. Lang

Allen Park -- Less than a month after he was released by the Detroit Lions, offensive lineman T.J. Lang has opted to call it a career. 

Lang announced his retirement via social media on Friday. 

"For the past 3,624 days I have woken up with one goal in mind — How can I be a better pro football player than I was yesterday?" Lang wrote "Well, those days are now over. The only thing I ask myself today is how can I be a better husband, father, son, brother, friend. I will forever cherish the great times that I had playing this game.

"Thank you Green Bay Packers for taking a chance on a 21 year old kid and giving me the opportunity and patience to grow into a man and reach my full potential as a football player. Thank you Detroit Lions for granting me a chance to finish my career in the place that I call home.

"It would've been impossible to play this game for 10 years without great teammates, coaches trainers, strength staff, doctors, agents, fans, family and friends. I thank each and every one of you and the unwavering support over the years. Whatever the next chapter holds, I hope to stay around the game in some capacity. It's been an amazing ride. Thank you all for being a part of it."

A fourth-round draft pick out of Eastern Michigan in 2009, Lang spent his first eight seasons with the Packers, earning Pro Bowl honors in 2016 and winning a Super Bowl in 2011. He joined the Lions in free agency after the 2016 season, signing a three-year contract with the hometown team. 

Lang struggled with a number of injuries during his time in Detroit, including a season-ending neck injury last season, as well as two concussions. They marked the fifth and sixth documented concussions of his career and had him evaluating his future with his family prior to his return to playing. 

“I think about my mom, obviously my wife, my kids,” Lang said in October. “My kids are old enough to watch the games now and notice when something is wrong. All that stuff goes through your mind. I think that’s just human nature. At the end of the day, you try to explain to my kids that I’ll be all right.”

Before coming back from his final  concussion, Lang sought the opinions of multiple medical experts and acknowledged he'd re-evaluate his future at the end of the season. 

The Lions released Lang in early March, a move that saved the team nearly $9 million in cap space. The decision also left a massive void in Detroit's starting lineup, one that is set to be contested between Kenny Wiggins, Joe Dahl, Oday Aboushi, Tyrell Crosby and, potentially, a draft pick. 

Lang, 31, retires after 10 seasons, 138 games and 113 starts.