Broncos’ Lang says he’s ready for challenge from draft picks
DENVER – Kenard Lang can handle the competition.But the fact the Denver Broncos selected two defensive linemen from the Florida Gators in the draft over the weekend? Now that’s harder to take.”It’s almost like a sin,” said Lang, who played for the Miami Hurricanes. “That’s almost like kissing your sister, something you don’t want to do.”However, he’ll make an exception for Gators Jarvis Moss and Marcus Thomas.”The Florida guys are coming off a national championship,” Lang said Monday. “They have that winning taste in their mouths and know what it’s like to win.”Thomas, the Broncos’ fourth-round pick, didn’t play in the title game against Ohio State. He was suspended from the team early in the season and eventually kicked off for violating a contract he signed after failing two marijuana tests.Moss came with baggage as well. Denver moved up four spots in the first round Saturday to select him with the 17th pick, even though Moss tested positive for marijuana last season and served a one-game suspension.Lang won’t hold the transgressions against either of them.”You were young yourself,” Lang said. “That’s like in high school – no one sipped beer at a party? Everybody has done dirt. The main thing about it is did they rectify the problem?”Now, this is your job. This is not (going) to sociology, then math, go eat lunch, go to practice and then study hall. This is come to work at 7 (a.m.) and go home at 5. As long as they have the mind-set that this is your job, they’ll be fine.”Lang and Ebenezer Ekuban are penciled in as the starters at defensive end going into the 2007 season. However, Moss and Texas’ Tim Crowder – Denver’s 56th overall pick – will be looking to steal their positions.”I know I ain’t no spring chicken,” Lang said. “But what are you going to do – pitch a tent or go out there and work? They’re going to (have to) come get my spot. He might be trying to come and get me, but in doing all that, he’s getting better for the team. That’s the hidden beauty.”Elvis Dumervil, a fourth-round pick in 2006, didn’t take the news of Denver drafting two additional defensive ends as a reflection on his performance.”I look at it as bringing in additional help,” said Dumervil, who led the Broncos in sacks last season with 8 1/2. “Competition is always good. I know I got embraced when I came in last year.”Lang plans on doing the same with this crop of rookies. He won’t freeze them out or shy away from teaching them what he’s learned over his 10-year career. If it costs him his spot, so be it.”I’m not saying I’m going to lay down and give them my job,” Lang said. “Of course there’s going to be competition. I’m not selfish. I’d rather see a young person succeed. By me holding back and not telling him the finer points, I’m not cheating him, I’m cheating the team.”Lang was selected with the 17th pick – like Moss – when the Washington Redskins took him in the 1997 draft. He knows Moss and Crowder will come in hungry to start.”I was a first-round pick who came in and kicked someone else out,” Lang said. “That’s the nature of the business.”Lang broke into a grin.”If I have any advantage, I have knowledge,” Lang said. “Like that old lefty, the pitcher – crafty. Throws nothing but breaking pitches. I guess I’m a crafty end. I know the ins and outs.”Lang thinks he still has some good years left. But if his playing time is up, he’s at peace with what he’s accomplished.Not that Lang’s ready to concede anything.”I’m going to make it hard for them (to take my job),” he said. “To make them a better player, to make this a better team.”
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