Bucs' Lansanah savors first NFL game in five years
NEW ORLEANS -- It barely registered with most fans and didn't result in so much as a single tackle, but Bucs linebacker Danny Lansanah made a long-awaited return to the NFL in Sunday's loss, playing in his first game in more than five years.
Lansanah, 28, was on the field for the opening kickoff return and also played on the kickoff coverage team, as well as playing the final possession on defense at linebacker. The former UConn linebacker played in five games as a rookie with the Packers in 2008, but hadn't been active for a game since, with stints with the Hartford and Las Vegas teams in the UFL before making the Jets' opening-day roster this fall. He was inactive in his only game with the Jets, as he was for his first two games with the Bucs before injuries pressed him into duty Sunday.
"It was great to get back out there -- it was mind-boggling," said Lansanah, who was working as a youth counselor in his Pennsylvania hometown when the Jets called him this summer. "We came up short, but I tried my hardest, gave my all like I always do. ... You work for so long, to finally get back out there in an NFL game, it felt good."
Such a layoff between NFL appearances is rare, and Lansanah's focus now is working in the offseason to try to make a case for the Bucs' roster next fall, though he won't have the benefit of injures depleting the competition around him.
"This is a great place to be, great coaches, great players, somewhere I'd like to be," he said. "I'll go into the offseason, work hard and come back ready."