Jeff Backus, a 12-year veteran who has been a solid left tackle throughout his career, is retiring, the Lions announced Thursday afternoon.
Backus -- who showed us a new side of himself this season -- started the first 186 games of his career (in league history, only Peyton Manning had started that many consecutive contests to begin a career) before a hamstring injury forced him to the inactive list in Week 11 of 2012.
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“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 released by the team. “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.”
“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. 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. …
“Most importantly, I want to thank my wife, my parents, my brother, all of my family and friends, and my agent Pat Dye Jr. Your unwavering support, guidance and sacrifices allowed me to follow my dream of playing in the NFL. I could never thoroughly explain how much that has meant to me.
“To my dad, you set the standards I live by. Your support and unbelievable perseverance motivates me daily to be the best that I can be. Thanks!
“Looking forward, I wish the entire Detroit Lions organization and all Lions' fans the best. I will always be a Lion at heart.”
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