By GEOFF MEHL, Staff Reporter
After 21 seasons as the Detroit Lions place kicker, Jason Hanson is hanging up cleats.
He announced his retirement on Thursday after telling reporters that his body couldn’t handle the vigor’s of an NFL season anymore.
The 42-year old Hanson (oldest player in the league) has been an automatic for the Lions over his tenure and after a lifetime of seasons he will be sorely missed.
“I gave serious thought and consideration to playing in 2013. While the determination and willpower are still there, the wear and tear on my body, especially the issues I had and still have with my heel, have convinced me that it’s time to retire” Hanson said.
Hanson has endured a lot over the years as the kicker for the Detroit Lions. He was drafted in 1992 from Washington State University and has been in the playoffs only six times (0-6) and experienced the worst record in NFL history at 0-16. Though Hanson wasn’t able to capture much team success, he sure has collected the individual awards and records.
Hanson set the record for most seasons with a single team- 21- in the home opener against the St. Louis Rams in 2012. He also took over first in all statistical categories as a place kicker for the Lions with longest field goal (56), field goals made (495), field goals attempted (601), points scored (2,150), extra points made (665) and extra points attempted (673).
Hanson’s 21 seasons also led him to several other records. He was the first player to play 300 games with one franchise and finished with 327 games. He also is third in the NFL in all-time scoring with 2,150 points.
“I look forward to my press conference next Tuesday where I can publicly thank so many people who have played such a big part in my career,” Hanson said. “You all helped me along this journey and I am forever grateful.”
Hanson was a fan favorite in Detroit and the Lions just won’t seem the same without number four trotting out there to kick-off or make a field goal. He had an amazing career in the NFL and though he wasn’t regarded as a “clutch” kicker nor had many opportunities to make big kicks, he was a consistent and stable player who the Lions could rely on.
After the news that Jason Hanson decided to retire, the Detroit Lions came to terms with kicker David Akers, formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles and most recently the San Francisco 49ers. Though the terms of the contract are not yet public, the Lions didn’t waste any time signing him just one day after Hanson retired.