Age. Money. Accuracy. Distance.
These are some of the key numbers that will determine whether kicker Jason Hanson returns to the Lions for a 22nd season.
But there’s also another factor: Desire. Hanson, who turns 43 in June, wasn’t ready to commit himself to another season at the end of the Lions’ disappointing 4-12 campaign.
“I think just taking some time just to make sure that I am determined to come back,” Hanson said at the end of the season. “I know this, I don’t want to fade away. I might. But as long as I feel that I’m ready to try to be the best and come back and be as good as ever, then I’m in.”
Hanson had another solid season. His 36 field-goal attempts and 32 conversions each were the second most of his career. His 88.9% conversion rate far outpaced his career average of 82.4%. His low moment was missing the potential winning 47-yard field goal in overtime against Houston on Thanksgiving.
He fought a nagging plant-foot injury and saw his kickoff average drop to 62.2 yards, but he still turned in 30 touchbacks. He also filled in as an emergency punter.
General manager Martin Mayhew was optimistic about Hanson’s possible return last week when he spoke with reporters. While the Lions surely are weighing all of Hanson’s numbers, the kicker said there’s one number that won’t matter.
“I’m not worried about the salary, really. Did that just get printed?” he said. “They know that. Me coming back won’t be salary-related, other than if my minimum is less than if they’re just going to get a rookie.”
Will Lions' Jason Hanson have enough desire for 22nd season?
Detroit Free Press | Feb 13