Jeff Backus, a Lions left tackle who has been one of the NFL’s most durable and consistent players since entering the league 12 years ago, has decided to call it a career.
The Lions announced on Thursday that Backus has retired.
Backus was the Lions’ first-round draft pick in 2001 and was immediately given the most important job on the offensive line, the starting left tackle position. He started every game that year, and every game every year until finally missing one game with an injury in 2012. In 12 seasons he started 191 of the Lions’ 192 regular-season games, as well as the Lions’ one and only playoff game of the last 12 years.
The departure of Backus is one more reminder that the 2013 Lions will be a very different team from the 2012 Lions. Detroit has made several significant personnel changes on both sides of the ball this offseason, and now one of the Lions’ most reliable mainstays is walking away, at the age of 35.