Sitton, Lang Play for Pride

Starting guards Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang showed toughness and pride in playing vs. Chicago. Their desire was appreciated by Aaron Rodgers and the coaching staff. (Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY)

In the worlds where Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang reside, ligament damage isn’t a “major” injury.

“Major, in my mind, is something that requires immediate surgery,” Lang said on Sunday.

Sitton and Lang, the Packers’ superb starting guards, didn’t want to be discussed as if they had just done something heroic. Fine, but the toughness Sitton (torn ligament in big toe) and Lang (muscle and ligament damage in ankle) showed during the Packers’ 55-14 throttling of the Bears shouldn’t be understated or taken for granted.

“They put their bodies on the line every week for us and don’t get a lot of credit,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said after his six-touchdown performance. “The line played excellent tonight. I had a feeling that Josh was gonna go, maybe Friday. But T.J. wasn’t sure and didn’t seem like he was gonna go. Yesterday they felt a little better, I think, and in their mind it was a no-brainer. Gotta give those guys a lot of credit really pushing through some difficult injuries. We all have stuff we deal with from time to time, but those big guys don’t get enough credit and they deserve a lot tonight.”

On Monday, coach Mike McCarthy said neither of his guards were any worse for the wear following 44-play performances against Chicago. They were perhaps the big beneficiaries of the Packers’ lopsided victory, as they watched the final 23 offensive snaps from the safety of the sideline.

“I felt all right. It was a little bit sore and a little bit limiting here and there but, overall, I felt pretty good,” Sitton said.

While Sitton said he had a good idea early in the week that he’d be ready to face the Bears, Lang said the key for him was going through Friday morning’s workout. When he went through Saturday’s practice without any setbacks, he built the confidence necessary to play on Sunday.

“Everybody’s got some pains and aches this time of year,” Lang said. “Obviously, you want to make a smart decision. If you feel like you can’t do the job as well as the guy behind you, it’s probably a wise decision not to play. With me, I felt after going through the workout on Friday, I just felt confident that I’d be able to get the job done. You’ve got to play through some pains sometimes. It comes down to a little bit of a pride thing, of not wanting to let your teammates down by not being out there.”

Sitton has missed two games since becoming a starter in 2009 and Lang has missed one game since becoming a starter in 2011. Last week, McCarthy called them “old-school pros.”

Those “old-school” players from the Lambeau and Lombardi eras played for the love of the game. Fairly or not, this generation of pros has the reputation of playing for the money.

Sitton and Lang, however, could play in any era.

“We pride ourselves in being available. Availability and accountability,” Sitton said. “We’re very prideful people. We want to be there and be there for the guys.”

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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