After 12 seasons as the Lions left tackle, Jeff Backus is retiring.

Backus, 35, was a first-round pick out of Michigan in 2001 and played in 191 of the Lions' 192 regular season games over the course of his career.

Backus started a franchise-record 187 consecutive games to start his career. He didn't miss a game until a hamstring injury kept him out of Week 12 during the 2012 season.

"Today, I've come to the conclusion that it's time for me to hang up my cleats and retire," Backus said in a statement Thursday. "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."

Backus battled several injuries over the course of his career, but only one kept him from starting a game. Backus was a quiet presence in the locker room and a stable member of the offensive line since being drafted, but his retirement comes as little surprise.

"I want to thank the Ford Family and the Detroit Lions for allowing me the privilege to represent the city of Detroit and play in the National Football League for the last 12 years," Backus said. "I also want to thank all of my coaches and teammates for all their support over the years. To the fans of Detroit, I thank you for the support and loyalty you have shown the Lions and myself. You deserve a winner."

Lions president Tom Lewand made the announcement Thursday and said Backus will be a "Lion for life."



From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130314/SPORTS0101/303140474#ixzz2NcYVnAEf