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Lions left tackle Jeff Backus retires

Jeff Backus, Riley Reiff AP

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.

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27 Responses to “Lions left tackle Jeff Backus retires”
  1. davefu50 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:08 PM

    He wasn’t the best LT in football, but he was Mr. Lion and deserved better than playing Millenball for most of his career.

  2. thekiy says: Mar 14, 2013 4:08 PM

    Missed one game in twelve years and was always underrated and under appreciated. Hurts to see him go.

    Welcome to Detroit Eric Fisher.

  3. zingo1978 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:08 PM

    Guess drafting Reiff was a good idea. Should stop listening to Detroit Sports radio

  4. steelerben says: Mar 14, 2013 4:09 PM

    This guy was a solid left tackle for a long time. He’ll be tough to replace, but this is the right year for the team to find someone to replace him with.

  5. classactcalvin81 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:13 PM

    U sure got a lot of crap from fans bro even tho u were one solid dude for years.. I will miss ya man but the 5 mill we save I think will go a long way.. Here’s to positive changes in13′ Go D!!!S

  6. leagueobservr says: Mar 14, 2013 4:14 PM

    It looks like Detroit goes tackle @ #5…

  7. huhsj says: Mar 14, 2013 4:17 PM

    A solid, if unspectacular career. A shame a good guy like him didn’t get more team success.

  8. thestrategyexpert says: Mar 14, 2013 4:17 PM

    He had a nice long career of dependable play. Great job Jeff!

  9. hyzers says: Mar 14, 2013 4:18 PM

    Thanks for all the work you put in, and having to live through the Millen regime. Both you and Steve Hutchinson, who played next to each other in college had outstanding NFL careers end within a week of each other. Enjoy the next chapter in life, Jeff.

  10. urlacherbacker says: Mar 14, 2013 4:18 PM

    So, both of the starting O line tackles have moved on? That’s got to be rough. I know they drafted one here recently (Rieff?). Isnt he supposed to be more of a right tackle though? Well, I guess this fits in with the draft since there are two highly rated tackles supposedly going top ten…

  11. lks311 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:26 PM

    Some folks aren’t appreciated until they’re gone. We’ll see. A class act…unlike his louder, less talented,
    fellow 2001 draftee at Center.

  12. larryboodry says: Mar 14, 2013 4:26 PM

    Jeff Backus was a true professional, sad to see him call it a career…I’m sure he will be missed in Detroit.

  13. malekmj says: Mar 14, 2013 4:27 PM

    This is a great day to be a Lions fan.

    Thank Goodness Backus is gone. We can not draft a true LT to protect our MegaStafford Franchise. Amazing. Truly amazing. That only leaves Dom as the remaining Millen monkey other than Calvin. But he doesn’t count. Once we draft a Center we can actually come out from under the Millen curse and actually win.

  14. hammrd says: Mar 14, 2013 4:34 PM

    There was a chance that he could have been a cap casualty anyway. At least this way he gets to leave with some dignity. On the plus side, that’s a nice chunk of money that can be used to fill some needs.

  15. det12 says: Mar 14, 2013 4:36 PM

    I never liked the fact that Backus always took the heat when he played bad like every other LT in the league never gave up a sack or got a false start penalty he was really a good guy with solid play his whole career that’s what you want out of a LT

  16. philliesblow says: Mar 14, 2013 4:52 PM

    Reliable, if not great, player for many seasons. Enjoy retirement Backus. Can you take Dominic Raiola with you?

  17. joeslacco says: Mar 14, 2013 5:00 PM

    Still dont think they’ll take a OL..

  18. hatesycophants says: Mar 14, 2013 5:01 PM

    Thanks, Jeff! You took a lot of crap, but you played every game like a pro!

  19. jluv66 says: Mar 14, 2013 5:38 PM

    Jeff you were a consistent pro!

  20. rodh32340 says: Mar 14, 2013 5:52 PM

    As a Dolphin fan, I have really been loving what Lions are doing lately! Backus loss is a sad thing during a good time in Detroit football.

  21. micknangold says: Mar 14, 2013 5:53 PM

    Respect.

  22. theboondoggles says: Mar 14, 2013 6:06 PM

    The heat on Jeff was that between 06 and 08 the Lions were bottom 3 in sacks allowed. That and terrible QB play. Not completely his fault and frankly more of a scheme issue, but he and Dom were the one consistent element of the Lions’ offense during the decade of despair. When Millen got fired, it was just assumed that the first thing Mayhew would do would be to fix the o line starting with Matt Millen’s first two draft picks.

    Good luck Jeff. Sorry for all the hate I threw your way over the years and thanks for proving me wrong.

  23. detlions80 says: Mar 14, 2013 7:11 PM

    Backus was a solid, dedicated player. He got a lot of flak that he didn’t deserve and will likely be missed. Too bad he had to wait until two days into free agency to inform us he was leaving….

  24. liondriven says: Mar 14, 2013 7:23 PM

    .
    .
    .
    “Today, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time for me to hang up my cleats and retire. It’s a bittersweet moment, but I’m content knowing I gave everything I had, played as hard as I could and tried my best to live up to the standards I believe in.”
    .
    .
    .
    Great words, great man, great Lion.
    .
    .
    .
    Thanks Jeff

    .

  25. staffordsyear says: Mar 14, 2013 7:29 PM

    Thanks jeff..have a great retirement.

  26. ddogdaddy says: Mar 14, 2013 10:35 PM

    What a miserable group of fans. Here is a dude that puts in 12 years of solid work and he gets a send off by by a group of ungrateful slugs. Not every Lion fan is a DB but by reading some of these posts, I am glad we got your big RT to come play for a decent organization so he can play in a positive environment which inveribly will allow him to hone his craft and reach his full potential.
    Go Blue.

  27. dlions18 says: Mar 15, 2013 1:31 AM

    @malekmj

    You say “we” as is if you’re on the team. What position do you play?

    Stop hating. Backus is/was the man!

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