Q & A with Kenard Lang

If Kenard Lang's football future is somehow cut short by the dicey decision to move him to defense tackle, he'll at least have a future as a standup comedian.

Lang dished out one-liners aplenty as he walked off the field after a training camp practice. Obviously not thrilled at the prospect of playing tackle instead of his natural position of end, Lang at least figures if he can make it through this year he'll become a richer man: He's due for free agency at the end of the season.

WARPATH: Ever notice you sound like Rod Gardner, the first-round draft pick?
LANG: That means he's a nice, intelligent guy. Good-looking. Bachelor.
WARPATH: Yeah, but he's a rookie.
LANG: Well, it takes time. I'm like fine wine. The older I get, the better I look.

WARPATH: Can you carry that fine wine analogy over to the team?
LANG: Well, like Bruce (Smith). He's top of the line, you can't buy him. You can't get enough money for him.

WARPATH: How the move to tackle coming along?
LANG: I'm getting used to it. I played it a little bit last year, but I'd rather get all my banging out now, so that when the season comes, I'll just go with the flow. I'm adjusting to it, can't complain. Just trying to get better and better every day at it.

WARPATH: What was the biggest part of getting used to it?
LANG: Knowing that I'm just strictly defensive tackle, that there's no end. You know, sometimes I go in the huddle, I look at Marco (Coleman), I start crying and getting jealous. I want to go over there and blow him out of the way, knowing I should be playing defensive end. Seriously, though, I enjoying playing defensive tackle. The only thing it can do is help me get better. It helps me out. I know the whole line. Actually, I can play from right end straight down to left end, so it's helping me out in the future.

WARPATH: You'd rather start at tackle than be a backup at end.
LANG: Oh, there's no doubt about that. I've got a chance to prove myself once again and get better. This year's my last year. We'll see what happens next year.

WARPATH: So you're not getting any work at all at end?
LANG: They already told me, `You don't worry about nothing except right tackle.'

WARPATH: Have you been eating with `Big Daddy' Dan Wilkinson at all? You look a little bigger.
LANG: Me and Big Daddy got problems. I say, `OK, wanna get a salad?' 'That's cool.' So I get my salad, I put a little bit of carrots, a little bit of cheese. Big Daddy gets the salad, he get salad, the potato salad, macaroni salad. I put fat free ranch dressing. He puts regular ranch dressing. I'm looking, I'm saying, `This is going backwards, it should be the other way around.'

WARPATH: You've bought into the idea of playing tackle now, but in the offseason it was no secret you were not happy with it. How did you come to accept it?
LANG: My problem was more or less like, `Well, do I want to sit on the bench and lose some money or go and get in the starting lineup and make some money?' That was a no-brainer there.

WARPATH: Meaning that your contract is up at the end of season.
LANG: Yeah, so, you see, it all matters how well I play. If I play well, I go back up my dump truck to any facility and tell them to bring it out with the guard. If I had sat on the bench, I'd be on the corner asking for pennies.

WARPATH: When you look at Bruce, do you see an every down player this year?
LANG: I think of memory pills, I think of canes and wheelchairs. He's getting old. (laughs) Naw, when I think of Bruce I think of experience, a lot of knowledge. He'll see certain formations, he'll say 'K-Lang, we're doing this.' I just listen. He's like my daddy, I'm not going to talk back to him.

WARPATH: What about the rookie draft picks this year? Are you going to give them grief?
LANG: I've got to mess with Gardner. He's from Florida. I told the management, he needs to sign for like a Subway sub and box of Fritos. That's all he needs right there.

WARPATH: How much do you weigh now?
LANG: Before practice, I probably weighed about 284. Now I'm probably like 280.

WARPATH: What were you last year?
LANG: 281, 282. But the main thing this offseason, I worked on my abdominal strength and my lower back strength. I'm going to be taking on double teams, that's a big concern.

WARPATH: Has Big Daddy taught you any tricks of the trade, things you can do at tackle that you couldn't do at end?
LANG: He told me one thing, he said, `Don't wear deodorant.' That was the main thing.

WARPATH: Huh?
LANG: You see, I always heard how you feel is how you play: You feel good, you play good. Big Daddy's the opposite. You go out there and line up next to him, you see flies and everything smelling. You go, `What is this?' But if you notice, he makes plays.

WARPATH: The work ethic has changed at this training camp under your new coach.
LANG: Blue collar. Bring your hard hat out, your lunch box and come to work. If you ain't coming to work, coach Schottenheimer says you might as well stay in the dorm room and go home. That's how the mentality is right now.


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