‘Defending your teammate’ proves costly for Lang
T.J. Lang wasn’t very happy with the fine, but you just know the Green Bay Packers veteran right guard would do it again.
Lang posted on his Twitter account (@TJLang70) Wednesday afternoon that he had received an $8,681 fine from the NFL for his role in the fight that happened late in the Packers’ 27-17 victory over the Seattle Seahawks Sunday night.
Lang came to the aid of teammate Richard Rodgers, whose head was being smooshed into the Lambeau Field turf by Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright, who was on top of Rodgers and had him by the facemask.
Lang ran in and grabbed Wright to pull him off Rodgers, and in turn referee Gene Steratore’s crew flagged Lang for unnecessary roughness. Wright and Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett were also flagged, and Wright was ejected. The penalties offset and the teams replayed the down.
“I saw Richard go down, and I saw his head getting pinned back and pushed into the ground there,” Lang said after the game. “I’m not just going to sit and watch it happen. I didn’t think I did anything to deserve a penalty, but that’s just what I do.”
Later, Lang joked, “I probably watch too much hockey.”
The penalty on Lang is part of a point of emphasis for this season regarding players pulling other players off of piles. In announcing the emphasis during the offseason, the NFL wrote, “Last season, there were several situations where players pulling opponents off a pile following a loose ball led to altercations. Pulling a player off a pile in an aggressive, forcible manner will result in a 15-yard penalty. If a player is not part of the initial pile, then his best course of action is to not get involved. This will allow game officials to determine possession and help reduce some of the safety risks involved with joining a pile.
While Lang figures to appeal the fine, another of his teammates – quarterback Aaron Rodgers – said no one was surprised to see Lang serving as the enforcer.
“We always back each other up,” Rodgers said. “T.J. was just going over there helping his guy out. I think there was maybe some B.S. on the other side with why that started and how that started, but we take care of each other. I’m not surprised with T.J. He doesn’t need a whole lot to get involved in those kinds of things.
“But we have each other’s back.”