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Jason Hanson retires from NFL after 21 seasons

Detroit Lions kicker Jason Hanson has announced his retirement from the NFL.

Leon Halip

Detroit Lions kicker Jason Hanson is retiring. Despite indicating earlier in the offseason that he was planning to come back for a 22nd season, Hanson announced on Thursday that he is retiring from the NFL. Like Jeff Backus, who also retired this offseason, Hanson spent his entire career with the Lions.

In a statement released by the Lions, Hanson said that he decided to retire because of the "wear and tear" on his body. Namely, a heel injury "convinced" him that his time to retire has come. Here's the full statement from Hanson:

"It's time," Hanson said. "I gave serious thought and consideration to playing in 2013. 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, and I believe it is the right one."

"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, 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," Hanson said.

It was looking like a contract dispute might lead to the end of Hanson's time with the Lions, but that's no longer a possibility with him retiring. Had the Lions offered him a better deal, would he have decided to retire? Only Hanson knows for sure, but it doesn't really matter now, as he has made the decision to walk away from the game.

Hanson, who was a second-round pick of the Lions back in 1992, leaves the NFL as one of the greatest kickers of all time. He played for the Lions from 1992-2012, and he finished his career with a total of 495 made field goals. He leaves the game with 2,150 career points, which puts him third on the NFL's all-time scoring list.

Hanson's retirement brings an end to the Lions' amazing run at kicker. Eddie Murray served as the Lions' kicker from 1980-1991, and Hanson had been the starter ever since. Now, a new era is set to begin at kicker for the Lions with Hanson retiring.

To Mr. Hanson, I say good luck in retirement and thanks for all you did with the Lions.

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