Martin Mayhew 'optimistic' that Jeff Backus, Jason Hanson will return

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew is "cautiously optimistic" that offensive tackle Jeff Backus and kicker Jason Hanson will put off retirement and return next season.

The careers of long-time Detroit Lions players Jeff Backus and Jason Hanson are beginning to wind down. Be it a couple months or a couple years, it's not expected that Backus and Hanson will continue playing for all that much longer. Both have been in the league for a long time (especially Hanson), and realistically speaking, the Lions will probably have to find a new left tackle and a new kicker sometime soon.

Just how soon remains to be seen. Backus has one season left on his contract, while Hanson is set to become a free agent this offseason. Neither player has publicly announced his future plans just yet, but Lions general manager Martin Mayhew is "cautiously optimistic" that both will decide to return. From the Free Press:

On if he knows yet whether Jeff Backus and Jason Hanson, who are considering retirement, will return: "I haven’t, but I did see Jeff downstairs a couple minutes ago so it’s good to see him in the building. We didn’t talk about what his plans are. But I’m cautiously optimistic on both those guys."

Personally, I would be pretty surprised if either player decides to retire this year. I expect Backus to finish out his contract, and I'd bet on Hanson getting a new one-year deal. Even though no concrete decisions appear to have been made, I just don't think either player is ready to call it a career just yet.

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