After 12 seasons in the NFL, offensive lineman Jeff Backus has decided to retire. Backus spent his entire career with the Detroit Lions, where he missed only one game and set a team record for consecutive starts. While many members of the team are sad, the move does create some salary cap room for the team that just went on a spending spree in free agency.
Backus released the following statement on his retirement:
- “Today, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time for me to hang up my cleats and retire. 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.”
Backus, who has played left tackle for the Lions, was scheduled to make $2.25 million in base salary and a $500,000 signing bonus for the 2013 season. Backus signed a two year contract back in 2012 that was below what many people expected.
The retirement of Backus will mean the Lions will now have several openings on the offensive line. This means the team will be starting unfamiliar people at left tackle. Last season, when Backus missed the Thanksgiving Day game, the Lions started rookie Riley Reiff. The sophomore will be in the running for the opening, but the Lions may also choose to draft an offensive lineman.
As a Lions fan, I am a little sad to see Backus go. However, with all of the moves that the Lions made yesterday, something had to give for the Lions to be able to participate in the 2013 NFL Draft and sign their rookies.