The Detroit Lions have decided against re-signing center Dominic Raiola, according to a report from the Free Press' Dave Birkett. Raiola is set to become a free agent in March, and Birkett reports that the team has already let him know that he is not in their future plans.
With the Lions not planning to re-sign Raiola, his time in Detroit has come to an end. A second-round pick in 2001, Raiola spent 14 seasons with the Lions. He became their full-time starter at center in 2002, and he appeared in nearly every game through the 2014 season. In total, he made 203 starts and played in 219 games in the regular season for the Lions.
The Lions have decided to move on from Raiola for two big reasons. For starters, he just wasn't getting the job done anymore. He had a surprising resurgence in 2013, but he took a major step back in 2014. What's more, the Lions now have a replacement for him ready to go after drafting Travis Swanson in the third round last year. Swanson started in place of the suspended Raiola in Week 17, and he fared quite well. With Swanson ready to step into the starting lineup at center, the time has come to transition to a new era at that position.
At this point, it's unclear if Raiola is going to attempt to continue playing elsewhere or if he will simply retire. Raiola indicated after the season that he wanted to play at least one more year, but not being brought back by the Lions could obviously change his plans.