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Lang is the latest Brownco

Denver Broncos defensive end Kenard Lang stretches during mini-camp at Broncos' headquarters in Denver, Monday, May 22, 2006. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
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DENVER Kenard Lang felt left behind last summer as he watched four of his Cleveland Browns defensive linemates leave one by one for a chance to rescue their careers in Denver.I was like a little kid chasing the school bus down the street oh, why are you all leaving me? Lang said.In four separate transactions last year, the Broncos signed former Cleveland linemen Courtney Brown, Gerard Warren, Ebenezer Ekuban and Michael Myers, along with the man who coached them Andre Patterson.While the line tallied just 28 sacks third-fewest in the league it produced pressure that created 36 turnovers, 16 more than the previous season.The Broncos this years jettisoned nine-year starter Trevor Pryce to create space under the salary cap and they knew exactly where to go for another pass-rusher.Lang is now the fifth member of the Browncos.He signed a three-year, $4.7 million deal in Denver after the Browns cut him in their own salary cap purge. He was deemed expendable not only because of his $4.6 million salary in 2006 but also because his sack totals diminished when he was switched from defensive end to linebacker last season.Lang, 31, a nine-year veteran, lost 25 pounds to change position when new coach Romeo Crennel implemented the 3-4 defense in Cleveland. He recorded just two sacks and 43 tackles.The Broncos were undaunted.We looked at Kenard last year. We liked him as a pass rusher at defensive end, Denver coach Mike Shanahan said. Obviously they moved him to more of an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, we thought hed be good with our situation at end.Lang played four seasons with the Browns and appeared in 62 games, including 49 starts at defensive end, after spending his first five years in Washington. His best season came in 2003, when he had a career-high 79 tackles and eight sacks.Like the rest of the Browncos, Lang is happy to be out of Cleveland and thrilled to be in Denver.Before the Broncos offseason workouts started last week, Lang walked up to Patterson and defensive ends coach Jacob Burney and gave them two big bear hugs and I said, Thank you for saving me.Its not that things (were bad in Cleveland). Theyre getting better with Romeo over there, dont get me wrong. But when you get tired of losing, it starts eating at your soul, Lang said. I can see that light at the end of the tunnel for me. Football is not forever, and Id rather be with a team that knows whats best to do, and thats what coach Shanahan does.Despite feeling left behind, Lang spent last season cheering on his former Cleveland linemates who helped lead the Broncos to the AFC championship game.I was so happy for them because they caught so much flak back in Cleveland and the thing about it was was it the players that played that bad or was it the coaches? Lang said. So when they came here, performed well and did well, I was happy for them. I wanted them to win, especially to beat Pittsburgh, because Pittsburgh killed us at the end of the year.Lang, however, never really thought hed join them. He envisioned his switch to linebacker as the last move hed make in his career that began as a first-round draft pick by the Redskins in 1997.Now, hes back at his familiar position and in refreshing new surroundings.Now Im here in Denver, where its beautiful; I love it. The weather is always nice. Its not cloudy; its not raining. The whole atmosphere is different. Nothing against Cleveland, they have great fans and everything, and I know Denver does, also, but its just the atmosphere, Lang said.Im a Florida boy, so Im used to wearing shorts on Christmas morning; itll be 75 degrees. Right now, its 75 to 80 degrees, and I talked to my friend in Cleveland, and its raining and hes stuck inside the house. Here, I can drive up the street and see the mountains, and its beautiful. Its a little postcard.


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