Jeff Backus still hasn't decided whether he will be back for a 13th NFL season, but one of his former teammates at Michigan said he wished the Lions' left tackle well with whatever he chose.

"I haven't talked to him, but great guy, great teammate who's had a great career," 49ers center Jonathan Goodwin said Sunday at a Super Bowl event. "I think he's been a starter his entire career, so if he decides to (retire), I'm sure it'll probably be tough for him, but definitely a guy that had a great career."

Backus made 186 straight starts after the Lions took him in the first round of the 2001 draft before a hamstring injury kept him out of a Thanksgiving loss to the Texans this year.

He also has dealt with torn biceps and pectoral muscles and a broken thumb in the last 19 months, and the Lions drafted his potential replacement in the first round last year, Riley Reiff, who will start somewhere on the Lions' offensive front next fall.

"He's played a long time, so to be able to play over 10 years in this league is a blessing and great career," said Goodwin, a teammate of Backus' at Michigan in 1998-2000.

The Lions could have a new-look offensive line next year with only Reiff and left guard Rob Sims assured of starting spots. Right tackle Gosder Cherilus is a free agent, right guard Stephen Peterman has a $500,000 roster bonus due the second day of the league year, and center Dominic Raiola has one of the team's largest cap numbers.