When he kicks for the Lions this year, Jason Hanson will break the NFL record of 20 consecutive seasons with one team, which he currently shares with Jackie Slater and Darrell Green. And he doesn’t think he’s much different as a kicker now than he was when the Lions took him in the second round of the 1992 NFL draft.
“I never thought I’d play this long,” Hanson told the Detroit Free Press. “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.”
Hanson, who went 5-for-7 on field goal attempts of 50 yards or longer last season, becoming the first player in NFL history to have 50 field goals of 50 yards or longer in his career, is virtually assured of being the Lions’ kicker again this season. But he says the presence of undrafted rookie kicker Derek Dimke on the offseason roster means he views himself as competing for his job.
“You always have to perform,” Hanson said. “Always. There’s a few guys who are young and at the top of their game where they’re the guys. But everyone else, ‘Hey, Hanson, let’s see what you got?’ And once you reprove it and they’re like, ‘He’s ready,’ great. But as soon as you show up and your kickoffs are a little shorter and your hang times are down or you’ve missed a few more than you usually do, you bring young guys in who are good and they’re fired up.”
Hanson sounds fired up for at least one year. Maybe this will be the year the Lions do something that they haven’t done in his 20 seasons: Win a playoff game.