Browns Sign Defensive Lineman Lang To 5-Year Deal

By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) - Free agent defensive lineman Kenard Lang, who has ties to Cleveland coach Butch Davis, signed a five-year contract on Tuesday with the Browns.

Lang, who spent the past five seasons with Washington, played for Davis at the University of Miami. He also has worked with Browns defensive coordinator Foge Fazio, who was with the Redskins before coming to Cleveland before last season.

"We are thrilled to have completed this deal," Davis said. "He is a great person and an impact player with the best years of his career ahead of him. He is a playmaker with the ability to change the course of the game on every play." reported that Lang's deal is worth $17 million and includes a $3.4 million signing bonus.

Lang has played both end and tackle during his career, so his signing could mean the Browns are no longer interested in re-signing Keith McKenzie. McKenzie broke his ankle last season, and he and the Browns have been unable to work out a new deal.

But Davis said the Browns still have interest in McKenzie.

"We have a high regard for Keith, and would like him to be with us next season," he said. "But the window of opportunity for free agents narrows with each signing."

Lang, 27, will join a defensive front in Cleveland which includes two first-round draft picks right end Courtney Brown (No. 1) and right tackle Gerard Warren (No. 3).

"I am overwhelmed, thrilled and ecstatic," Lang said. "The facilities and defensive scheme are exactly what I was looking for. I can't wait to put on a Browns jersey and go talk to the Dawg Pound."

The 6-foot-4, 281-pound Lang is the not the only former Hurricane to join Davis in Cleveland.

Last season, Davis drafted running back James Jackson and wide receiver Andre King out of Miami and signed free agent receiver Jammi German, linebacker Michael Smith and offensive lineman Richard Mercier.

Lang was a first-round draft choice (17th overall) in 1997 and started all 16 games at tackle for Washington last season because of injuries and the departure of Dana Stubblefield.

In five seasons, Lang has appeared in 76 games, starting in 52.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)