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Dwight Freeney chose to play with Lions over retirement

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Dwight Freeney nearly retired after being placed on waivers. Then the Lions came calling.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

When Dwight Freeney was waived by the Seattle Seahawks last week, he was angry and confused. In his 16 years in the NFL, he had never been placed on waivers, and wasn’t sure what his future would hold:

“I’d never experienced (being on waivers),” he told reporters on Monday, per MLive’s Kyle Meinke. “That was probably the craziest 24 hours. It was definitely an emotional roller coaster. I went from completely pissed off to completely excited.”

He was so pissed off, in fact, that he told his agent he was considering retirement. “I told my agent, 'I'm not going to go to just anybody. I'll retire before I do that,’” Freeney said.

But then the Detroit Lions came calling, putting in a waiver claim for the veteran defensive end, and it soothed Freeney’s concerns.

“Thank God it was this team,” Freeney said, referring to the Lions. “That was a place I actually wanted to go to.”

The Detroit Lions have had their eye on Freeney for some time. According to the veteran pass rusher, head coach Jim Caldwell had told Freeney at several points this year that they may be interested in signing him and to “stay ready.”

Freeney was a free agent all the way until October 24, when the Seahawks decided to take a chance on the 37 year old. With all of the Lions’ pass rushing issues, what took so long to get Freeney in Detroit? “We needed it last week, we got it done, and I think that’s probably the best way that I can explain it,” Caldwell said on Monday.

Had the Lions not claimed Freeney, there’s a good chance he’d be back with Seattle right now. “The (Seahawks) GM was really apologetic and said how embarrassed he was to do this,” Freeney said. “I hadn’t been here long and if you guys feel like maybe you can put me on waivers and get away with it, cause he was saying he was going to re-sign me later on that week possibly, and that’s what they were trying to do because they were so hurt at linebacker.”

But Freeney’s back with his old coach in Detroit and seems thrilled with the opportunity.