Minutes after the Packers took Indiana offensive tackle Jason Spriggs in the second round (No. 48 overall) of the NFL draft Friday evening, Lang placed his order for future meetings.
Welcome Spriggs! I chew skoal wintergreen and like my coffee 2 creams, 2 sugars.— TJ Lang (@TJLang70) April 30, 2016
Lang, who joined the Packers as a fourth-round pick in 2009 and has been a starter since 2011, was just letting Spriggs know about the offensive-line tradition of having rookies deliver beverages, and chewing tobacco, to the veterans and offensive-line coach James Campen each week.
David Bakhtiari and JC Tretter, who were both drafted in the fourth round in 2013, shared the rookie delivery duties that year, and Corey Linsley, the only offensive lineman the Packers drafted in 2014, was stuck with the job throughout his rookie season, even though the fifth-round pick ended up starting every game and playing every offensive snap that year.
“I’m the lunch, coffee and dip guy,” Linsley acknowledged late in the 2014 season. “I get the coffee. T.J. likes his two cream, two sugar. ‘Campy’ likes his black.”
Lang explained the tradition while praising Linsley during that 2014 season, saying, “It’s something you have to understand, nobody’s picking on you, it’s just a tradition we’ve all done. I know when Bryan [Bulaga] was a rookie [in 2010], he was always complaining about buying food and whatnot. [Linsley] does it without complaining. That’s also a way to get your teammates on your side.”
Spriggs, who started 47 of a possible 48 career games for the Hoosiers, could wind up doing more than just fetching coffee and chewing tobacco as a rookie, even though the Packers’ starting five for next season is locked in with Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, Linsley, Lang and Bulaga. Both Bakhtiari and Bulaga were forced to play as rookies because of injuries on a seemingly set offensive line.
And if he isn’t thrust into the lineup, Spriggs will have a year to learn before likely becoming a starter somewhere on the line, with Bakhtiari, Sitton, Lang and Tretter all entering the final years of their contracts.
“I think that’s huge [to sit and watch],” Spriggs said. “And I think that’s something that should make it much better, being able to behind those guys and learn from them some of the tricks of the trade and really take in what those guys know and what those guys can do.”
And how they like their coffee.