The Detroit Lions have been very clear that they want 42-year-old kicker Jason Hanson to return next season but he’s not sure he is up for it just yet.
Hanson, 42, has kicked for the Lions for 21 seasons and he’s enjoyed few better seasons than the one this last year when he made 32 of 36 field goals. According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Hanson said late in the season he was contemplating retirement.
With free agency opening in a little more than three weeks, the Lions probably need an answer from him within that time frame.
“I still have just been taking my time to really figure it out and make sure that I’m making the right decision and so I haven’t officially decided yet,” Hanson said on WXYT-FM, according to Birkett. “I’ve been in contact with the Lions. I’m around and so I’m not hiding, but I told them I just really want to take my time and make sure that I’m not making a mistake by coming back and not going to regret that I left if I do so I’m just taking my time.
“I think sometime in the next weeks (I will make a decision). I don’t know what that means, but I think that that’s kind of what they’re hoping. They’d like to know probably now so they can make plans, but I just think sometime in the next few weeks I’ve got to make a decision.
“I have told them that it’s not indifference. I hope they don’t interpret waiting as (that) cause if I’m playing I’m all in and I hope they know that. So it’s not as if I’m hedging my bets, I just really want to make sure that I’m making the right decision by playing again as opposed to coming in and kind of wishing I hadn’t and feeling like I don’t want to do it again.
“I think there's plusses and minuses. The reason to stop is just to not — I don’t want to be someone who fades away and, as a kicker it’s pretty obvious if you did that or not. Even if I come back, there’s no guarantees I make the team, I suppose. But it’s just mostly for me mentally I want to feel like I actually could be better and I’m willing to do that. And if I feel like I think I had the effort that’s needed to try to be the best, if my stomach’s kind of like uhh, then it might be time to stop. So yeah, hopefully in the next few weeks I’ll make that decision.”
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune