The oldest player in the NFL hasn’t decided yet if he’ll return in 2013. But he has decided that he won’t play elsewhere.
Jason Hanson, the 42-year-old Lions kicker who owns three NFL records (most games played with one team, most seasons played with one team and most career 50-yard field goals) says that if he does come back, it will definitely be with the Lions.
“I’m not interested in playing anywhere else, no way,” Hanson told the Detroit Free Press. “If I can’t do it here, I can’t do it anywhere right now. And with my family — and they know that, so it’s not any secret. So yeah, never say never, but I’m not considering any other options other than getting it done here.”
So will Hanson return to the Lions?
“I think so,” Hanson said when asked if he wants to keep playing. “I know I can. Like I said, I haven’t really processed all that. Just get some of the nagging little kicker owies, toenail hurts, that kind of thing, let that calm down and then just really evaluate because I know I don’t want to play anymore unless I know I want to play and feel like I’m going to show up for off-season and run and do all the stuff. . . . I’m not going to do it unless I feel like I can and I’m going to work like I always have.”
What’s also unknown is whether the Lions will bring Hanson back, and if so at what price. Hanson is making $2.5 million this season and becomes an unrestricted free agent after the season, and the Lions would likely want him to take less money if he does come back. Hanson is having a fine season, but you can find kickers who will have a fine season for less than $2.5 million.
It would be perfectly reasonable for the Lions to ask Hanson to take less money, and perfectly reasonable for Hanson to decide that he’s at a point in his life when he doesn’t want to take less money. In which case one of the greatest kickers in NFL history would decide to call it a career.