The Indianapolis Colts liked Kendall Langford for his versatility, being able to play defensive end or tackle in a 3-4 defense, and for his durability in not missing a game in seven seasons and 112 appearances.
Langford, 29, favored the Colts for obvious reasons: familiarity with the 3-4, joining a Super Bowl contender with a winning tradition and being sold on the Colts because of quarterback Andrew Luck.
Langford referred to Luck twice in his comments after agreeing to terms on a contract Tuesday. Terms were undisclosed and have yet to be reported.
The Colts have several defensive holes to fill after releasing defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois and evidently deciding against re-signing defensive end Cory Redding, who was allowed to become a free agent.
At 6-6 and 313 pounds, Langford likely lines up at end but can shift inside to tackle if necessary. He’s started 90 games in his career, but became expendable in St. Louis after losing his starting spot to Defensive Rookie of the Year Aaron Donald.
“I had interest from different teams,” Langford said. “It pretty much came down to Detroit and Indy. I felt like both were good football programs and organizations, good teams but I think the 3-4 is a little more home for me and that’s what led to my ultimate decision for me. You guys have a stud back there under center in No. 12 (Andrew Luck) so I’m looking forward to playing with him, guys like Robert Mathis and the rest of the great players over here in Indianapolis.”
Langford has 242 career tackles, including 177 solos and 15.5 sacks. Last season, his third with the Rams after four with Miami, he had just 25 tackles and one sack. While those numbers don’t jump off a stat sheet, he’s still regarded in NFL circles as a strong inside player who can be disruptive.
The Colts are obviously expecting that in what appears to be a low-risk, modest-reward signing.
Asked about how he’s been able to play every game in his career, he said, “Blessed. That isn’t nothing but the good Lord. I’m going into my eighth season and I haven’t missed a game on any level, little league, high school, college, professional. I guess you could call me durable.”
His 112 consecutive games played without missing one is the longest streak in the NFL for a defensive end or tackle.
The chance to play for a Super Bowl contender has him eager for this next opportunity.
“I’m extremely hungry,” he said. “I think that’s one of the reasons that drove me here. Andrew Luck is one of the great ones and I’m excited about it.”
Langford had his best NFL season in 2013, when he made 49 tackles with five sacks. He was originally a third-round pick by the Dolphins in 2008.
Released before free agency, he had the opportunity to shop himself around.
“It was one of those things where you are anxious and nervous at the same time,” he said. “You are excited and nervous at the same time about what your future holds, what team you are going to end up with, what city you are going to be in, I had to take a lot of things into consideration.
“My son is starting school so the school districts and private/public whichever way I wanted to go, that weighed a lot into it. I’m just excited to join such a great organization. I met the coaches today and the general manager and it just seems like one big family here. You guys have a winning tradition and I wanted to be a part of it.”
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.