Like most retired players former Lions offensive tackle Jeff Backus said he wanted to spend more time with his family.
Just not all of it.
According to Tim Twentyman of the Lions’ official website, Backus will join the coaching staff as a part-time intern this season, and work with the linemen.
The Lions already have two coaches for the offensive line (Jeremiah Washburn and first-year assistant Terry Heffernan), but Backus will be hanging around helping from time to time.
“It really just started with Jeremiah asking me to come in and sit in on meetings and watch some of their workouts and to be a mentor to some of their young offensive tackles,” Backus said. “They don’t have any veteran offensive tackles in the room right now. I still live in the area and he just asked me, when I have time, to come in and do what I’ve always done.”
Backus insisted this was a part-time role.
“My No. 1 thing now that I’m retired is taking care of my responsibilities around the house and taking some trips that we haven’t been able to do and living our life,” he said. “But at the same time, I have a lot of friends with the Lions. I really like the offensive line group. I want to see them succeed. So, when I have time, and I’m available during the offseason program, I’m going to try to be down there and help them out.”
The Lions are hoping last year’s first-rounder Riley Reiff can take over at left tackle, with competition on the other side where they lost former right tackle Gosder Cherilus to the Colts free agency.
Involving recently retired players can be a good idea, for groups that lack veteran leadership. The Jets have extended a similar offer to quarterback David Garrard, and in some cases, the recent playing experience might help bridge the us-them communication gap which exists naturally between players and coaches.