By Will Burchfield
If Detroit Lions fans believe in Bob Quinn, so does T.J. Lang.
Lang met with Detroit’s second-year general manager on Thursday night and came away with the impression of “a great football mind.” Three days later, the right guard and coveted free agent signed a three-year deal with the team he grew up cheering for.
“We sat and we talked football for a couple hours Thursday night when I went over to visit and he just seemed like such a down-to-earth guy,” Lang told the Valenti and Foster Show on 97.1 The Ticket. “You can see the vision that he has for this football team and for the organization. Obviously growing up in the area, I think it’s something people around here haven’t seen in a long time. And he’s getting things done.”
Lang, a native of Royal Oak and a product of Eastern Michigan, was Quinn’s second big acquisition of the offseason. When free agency opened last Thursday, the Lions snatched up right tackle Ricky Wagner.
Quinn also improved Detroit’s defensive line with the depth signings of Akeem Spence and Cornelius Washington. His activity on the free agent market stood out to Lang.
“I’m a big believer in building your team through the offensive and defensive lines, and he’s a guy who doesn’t mess around with that, obviously, with what he’s done the last couple of days,” Lang said.
Before making a decision on where he would sign, Lang narrowed his choices to the Lions, Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers. He said he was “99 percent sure” he would sign with Seattle, before a last-second counter offer from Detroit swayed his decision.
The money — $28.5 million over three years with $19 million guaranteed — obviously played a factor, but so did Lang’s belief in what Quinn is building.
“Just talking football with him, talking about being in the city of Detroit and being back home and where he really wants to (take) the program, they’re not just talking about, ‘We want to get to the playoffs,'” Lang said. “They’ve done that the last couple years.
“I think everybody’s going from, ‘Let’s get a playoff win,’ to ‘Let’s start competing for championships.’ That’s all I’ve known coming from Green Bay for eight years and it’s really going to be special to be a part of that.”
Asked if he has as much confidence in Quinn as the Lions fan base, Lang immediately responded, “Yes.”
Lang was also drawn to the Lions because of the positive things he heard about head coach Jim Caldwell. Two of Lang’s good friends, Jason Jones and Geoff Schwartz, played for Caldwell in Detroit and vouched for the man who has led the Lions to two playoff appearances in three seasons at the helm.
“Both of those guys just had such tremendous things to say about him. I did a lot of homework on the other two teams, Seattle and Detroit, about their coaching staffs, how they operate,” Lang said. “Neither of those guys had (anything) negative to say as far as the Detroit coaching staff.
“Coach Caldwell was just a guy — he’s just football, man, that’s all he is, and I’m excited to play for him. I met him Thursday night, I talked to him again a little bit yesterday, he’s just anxious to get a championship football team on that field and get this thing rolling. Everything I’ve heard so far has been nothing but positive.”