Last offseason, it was anything but a sure thing that Jason Hanson would be the Detroit Lions' starting kicker. Coming off of a season-ending injury, Hanson entered training camp with the starting kicker job on the line against Dave Rayner, who did a good job of filling in for him while he was out.
Hanson quickly gained a stranglehold of the starting job once the preseason began and locked up the spot at kicker for the 20th season in a row. Finally healthy, he got off to a good start, and even after having stitches in his knee midseason, Hanson performed at a high level, going 24-of-29 on field goals and 54-of-54 on extra points during the season.
Hanson's good season has him planning a return for his 21st year as the Lions' kicker. Although nothing is ever guaranteed, Hanson plans to be the kicker if the Lions will have him.
"I feel like I can still do it physically, so as long as they invite me back -- which I'm putting in a personal request that they do -- I'd like to do it," Hanson said with laugh Monday as the team cleaned out its lockers. "I hopefully showed them I'm not as old as my hair and I can still do it."
I'd bet on the Lions bringing in somebody to both compete with Hanson and lessen the workload on him during training camp. When the preseason comes to a close and the 2012 regular season begins, though, I fully expect Hanson to once again be the Lions' starting kicker.