With Detroit Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew, there's denial. He's not making excuses.

His drops and fumbles were a significant part of the Lions' slide last season that ended with a 4-12 record and an eight-game losing streak, and he knows it.

"By far, the most frustrating year that I've had," Pettigrew said. "You guys know why. You've seen the negative stuff that I did.

"There was some positive, but to me, the negatives really kind of stick out. It just got me last year."

Pettigrew doesn't hide from his failures when he's asked about them.

Otherwise, though, he says he's moved on.

"I'm over last season," he insisted. "I'm focused on what I need to correct."

Pettigrew, 28, is entering a crucial contract year personally. His original rookie deal - five years for $5.1 million after being the No. 20 pick overall in 2009 coming out of Oklahoma State - expires after this coming season.

Whether the Lions make re-signing him a priority, and for how much, will be largely determined by his performance this year.

Some athletes are at their best when a new contract is on the line.

"It's not just because it's my contract year and now it's time for me to go harder," Pettigrew said. "I've approached the other years just as hard.

"But, obviously, I feel like I've got a little bit more to prove considering I had a down year last year."

Pettigrew can't afford another season like 2012 when he finished with the league's third-highest drop rate among tight ends (13.2 percent, nine drops on 68 catchable passes), according to ProFootballFocus.com.