Before Jason Hanson stepped to the podium Tuesday to deliver his farewell speech, president Tom Lewand announced the retiring kicker would become the 14th member of the Lions ring of fame — Pride of the Lions — and be honored during a home game this season. To which Hanson, setting the comedic tone for the afternoon, said, "That's a great honor, the ring of fame. Tom, I've seen the poster for the current ring of fame players. There's a color half and a black and white half. I better be in the color half." Hanson, the Lions' career leading scorer, has retired after 21 seasons. The process leading up to his announcement last week has been anguishing for him. Ultimately, though, a persistent heel injury settled it. "It was brutal," he said. "I'm going to say what every former athlete says — 'I can still do it.' "You know, when I was kicking (last month), I was kicking pretty good. But I decided after all the years and with the prayer maybe God was leading me to make this decision through the heel. "I just have lost interest. I hate excuses and I hate performing compromised and I said that. But I went back and forth. One day I was going to the Pro Bowl and the team was going to the Super Bowl and we were going to turn 0-16 into 16-0 and I was going to be part of it. "The next day I would be like, 'But my heel hurts.' I cannot stand that I need to ice and rehab and stretch for three days. So, I short-circuited with that." He joked he nearly had a change of heart when the Lions signed David Akers last week. "I wanted to unretire when we signed David Akers," he said with a laugh. "I said, 'No, not David Akers,' because David is good. He had a bad year last year, but I don't feel bad for him and I'm not real worried about him because he's good. "The Lions are fortunate that he'll be here. He'll do well and I think I'm really jealous of him because I think he's going to step into a good situation and he's going to do some good stuff."
Retired Lion Jason Hanson's upcoming honor has nice ring to it
Detroit News | Apr 10