May 21, 2012; Allen Park, MI, USA; Detroit Lions kicker Jason Hanson (4) during organized team activities at Detroit Lions training facility. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
Since 1980, the Detroit Lions have really only had two different starting kickers. Others have come along as temporary replacements or as camp bodies, but for the last 32 seasons and counting, either Eddie Murray or Jason Hanson has served as the Lions' kicker. Murray kicked for the Lions from 1980-91, and Hanson has been the kicker ever since.
In 2012, Hanson is set to begin his 21st season in the NFL. The soon-to-be 42-year-old was asked about his future earlier this week, and he admitted he's not sure just how much longer he will play.
"You know, I don't know" how much longer I'll play, Hanson said at the team's charity bocce ball tournament at Palazzo di Bocce in Lake Orion.
"I can't answer it anymore. I never thought I'd play this long. I just know this: I know that when I'm kicking, I can kick as well as I ever have. And it's just enough to make it each year."
At some point, the Lions will have to switch kickers, as Hanson can't play forever. As nice as it's been to not have to really worry about the kicker position for the last three decades, a time will come when there will actually be a need for a new kicker. Hopefully that time doesn't come for at least a few more years, though.