Jason Hanson has retired after 21 seasons with the Detroit Lions. Since making his debut in 1992, the 42-year-old has established himself as one of the greatest placekickers in NFL history, and most certainly a Lions icon.
Hanson suffered a heel injury last season that continued to plague him through the offseason, and this was a prime factor in his decision to retire. He told the Lions website:
“It was time to make a decision. It was the right time to step away. Ultimately, it’s my heel – the problem I developed last year. Now that we’re starting a new year, it’s still an issue. I have the desire. I have the determination, as I said earlier, to come back.
“Each time I’d start to push it, I’d kind of short-circuit. I realized that at this point of my career, I don’t want to perform in a compromised way. It’s not good for the team. I lost a little of my desire to play injured.”
Despite his injury, the veteran placekicker still made 32-of-36 field goal attempts last season. He finishes his career having featured in 327 games with the Lions, the most by any player with one team.
Originally a second-round pick in 1992, Hanson is the NFL record-holder with 52 field goals of 50-plus yards. He’s also the third all-time kicker with 2,150 points and 495 field goals. Only Morten Andersen and Gary Anderson can top those figures.
Sadly, the Lions and Hanson were unable to thrash out a contract for the 2013 season. Hanson told the team’s site:
“I would have worked out a contract with the Detroit Lions. There was talk, and at the start, with their initial offer, it gave me some time to evaluate – ‘OK, am I going to do this?’ Ultimately, no. It would not have been an issue. There are no hard feelings. It never got to a point where there was serious back and forth with numbers. It didn’t matter.”