Jason Hanson played more games for the Detroit Lions than any player has ever played for any single NFL team, and the Lions announced today, after Hanson announced his retirement, that Hanson will remain an ever-present part of the team as the newest member of its Ring of Honor.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz, one of eight head coaches Hanson had in his 21 seasons with the Lions, made the case at Hanson’s retirement press conference that Hanson deserves to be enshrined in Canton one day.
“You took him for granted because you had so much confidence in his ability to do his job,” Schwartz said. “Jason Hanson is a Hall of Fame kicker.”
Lions owner Bill Ford Jr. acknowledged that there’s been more bad than good for the Lions during Hanson’s career, but appreciated that Hanson has been a reliable part of the franchise for more than two decades.
“For a whole generation of Lions fans, there’s been one kicker,” Ford said. “No matter how disappointing the season, you could always count on Jason Hanson doing his part — and a little bit more. . . . There were times when it seemed like he was our leading tackler on special teams.”
Hanson noted that when he first joined the Lions, teammate Barry Sanders called him “Baby J” because he looked like a little kid. Hanson’s nickname in the locker room during his last season was “Pops.” From Baby to Pops, that’s a long journey with one team.