ALLEN PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) - The Detroit Lions announced that Jason Hanson, who spent 21 seasons as a kicker with the team, is the newest member of their Ring of Honor. Hanson officially announced his reasons for retiring in front of the entire Lions organization.
"Every NFL season is mentally and emotionally and physically draining, especially the unsuccessful ones. These last few months after this season, I waited quite a while before I started to train hard. So, as the spring started to come on and the dead time after a season evaporated I began to prepare.
"When I started working out hard again, all the systems were kind of a go except one and that was my heel. And while my heel pain has not been incapacitating, it was still bothering me after all the rest and rehab and things that I had done, and I realized that could be a problem.
"I didn't want to have to explain how come I wasn't kicking the ball hard today or why I needed a couple extra days off. I wanted to play my best, and I decided to retire because I wasn't sure I could do that. So, that's how I came to the decision."
Lions head coach Jim Schwartz admitted that some took him for granted because of the level of confidence people had in Hanson being able to do his job so well.
"Jason Hanson is a Hall of Fame kicker," said Schwartz.
"For a whole generation of Lions fans, there's been one kicker," said Bill Ford Jr. "No matter how disappointing the season, you could always count on Jason Hanson doing his part — and a little bit more."
Hanson thanked Lions fans for all of their support as well as some others who are very near and dear to his heart.
"To my kids, it has been really special that you guys have been old enough to see me play, to understand it, to enjoy the Lions, to experience all the games. I do want to thank my family, my father, Doug, my mother, Cheryl, my brother, Travis, who might be watching this live. Their support and love was there from the start and I love them all."