Long-time Lions K Jason Hanson retires after 21 seasons
Jason Hanson had indicated earlier in March that he would return in 2013, but plans changed after he was not given a new contract by the Detroit Lions.
"It's time. I gave serious thought and consideration to playing in 2013,” Jason Hanson said in a statement on Thursday. “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.”
"I have put a lot of prayer into this decision,” continued Jason Hanson, “and I believe it is the right one."
Joining the Detroit Lions as an second-round (56th overall) pick in the 1992 NFL draft, Jason Hanson spent his entire career with the team, eventually becoming one of the most recognizable faces of franchise history and being considered a Detroit Lions legend despite being a place kicker. However, Jason Hanson is the sort of kicker who would generate a lot of Hall of Fame talk, even if it doesn’t turn out his way; and could possibly get his No.4 jersey retired by the Detroit Lions as well.
The Detroit Lions are expected to hold a farewell press conference in honor of Jason Hanson’s retirement on Tuesday.
"While 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,” added Jason Hanson, “I do want to offer my sincere appreciation to the Ford Family, all my coaches and teammates, the Lions organization and the incredible Lions fans.”
“You all helped me along this journey and I am forever grateful.”
Jason Hanson’s name comes across every statistical category for a kicker in franchise history. He holds the record for the longest field goal (56 yards), most field goals attempted and made (601 and 495 respectively), as well as extra points made and attempted (665, 673).
The former three-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowler Jason Hanson continued to perform at a high level last season as he connected on connected on 32 of 36 field goal attempts, kicking at an 88.9 percent rate, even still considerably more than his career percentage of 82.4.
Following a 44-yard field goal the 2012 season finale against the Chicago Bears, Jason Hanson set an NFL record for most field goals at 40-yards plus (188). Jason Hanson also ranks first in NFL history with most 50-yard plus field goals made (52). He inked a record for most points scored (134) last season, by ranking first in franchise history and finishing third all-time in the league.
"Jason Hanson is the gold standard,' said Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand. “He had an exemplary, Hall-of-Fame worthy career on the field, and for those of us fortunate to know him well, he is an even better person, teammate, friend, husband and father.”
"Our organization has been blessed to have Jason for 21 years,'' added Tom Lewand.