Allen Park, MI (Sports Network) - Detroit Lions offensive tackle Jeff Backus
informed the team on Thursday that he intends to retire after 12 NFL seasons.
Selected by Detroit with the 18th overall pick of the 2001 draft, Backus spent
his entire career with the Lions and started all but one game over that 12-
year span. The durable veteran had a string of 187 consecutive starts come to
an end when he sat out Detroit's Thankgiving Day matchup with Houston this
past December due to a hamstring injury.
That starting streak stands as a franchise record, while Backus' 191 overall
games played are the third-most by a Lions player in team history. He is also
the only offensive lineman since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to start the first
160 games of his career.
"Today, I've come to the conclusion that it's time for me to hang up my cleats
and retire," said Backus in a statement. "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
While Backus will be departing, Detroit will have another longtime member back
for 2013 after agreeing with long snapper Don Muhlbach on a one-year contract
Muhlbach has served as the Lions' long snapper for the last nine seasons and
has not missed a game since 2005. The 31-year-old was added to the NFC Pro
Bowl roster as a need player this past season.
The Sports Network