Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley says that he feels he played well enough last season to earn his $5.5-million, fifth-year contract option for 2015, but the team refused to exercise it this spring.

"I felt like I would (earn it), yeah," Fairley said today, after taking part in an organized team activity practice in Allen Park. "I felt like things went great for me.

"My first year wasn't too good, but my next two came on. But like I said, they didn't pick it up, so we've just got to move on and get ready for this year. Things are going to be good."

Fairley was the 13th overall draft pick out of Auburn in 2011. A broken foot limited his effectiveness over 10 games his rookie season. He had 5 1/2 sacks in 13 games in 2012 and six sacks in 15 games last year. But he has not been the consistently dominant player the Lions had hoped he would be while playing next to Ndamukong Suh.

Fairley admitted that he initially was bothered by news of the Lions' decision not to pick up his fifth-year option. General manager Martin Mayhew told him of the decision while Fairley was working out in Houston.