ALLEN PARK -- Last week Jason Hanson literally kicked off his 20th season with the Detroit Lions – tying an NFL record.
Hanson’s dual-decade mark was significant. Not only because of the obvious milestone of twenty years with a single organization but also because he is now tied with Jackie Slater and Darrell Green as the only players to accomplish this feat (no pun intended).
“Well that’s kind of a meaningful record because you’ve been with the same team and same organization that long,” Hanson said earlier this week. “My family, we’ve all been blessed to be in one place and not have to bounce around and move around… It’s more fun to be in one place and see it out throughout the years.”
Hanson has seen the franchise through its darkest hours and been a member of some of its most successful squads.
He was here in the Wayne Fontes, Barry Sanders days and suffered through the Matt Millen, Joey Harrington years. He was with the team for their last playoff berth (1999) and through their winless season.
Through all the turbulence, he has been a model of consistency.
He’s successfully converted on 82 percent of his field goals, including a NFL-record 45 field goals from 50 yards or more.
He has 1,899 career points heading into Sunday’s contest – seventh on the NFL all-time scoring list – one point away from 1,900.
“I didn’t know that, so I’ll be nervous for my first kick,” joked Hanson.
This Sunday will be more than an opportunity for Hanson to reach 1,900 career points. When he kicks off this weekend, Hanson will break his current tie with Bruce Matthews, having played more games with one team in NFL history (297)
It's an achievement Hanson looks at with pride. Still, the 41-year old would prefer another accomplishment.
“The accomplishment I’d love to be a part of is to get through the bad years where we were just awful and make it to where, hopefully, we are going to be really good,” said Hanson. “That would be something fun, to stick to that and survive it come out the other side and try to contribute to us winning. That would be really neat.”
As the Lions turn the corner as a team and Hanson continues to demonstrate the leg strength and accuracy that have carried him through 20 years in the NFL, it is likely his career won’t stop when this season ends.
Although, he’s not looking that far ahead.
“It’s just getting through this year and playing well for the team and contributing,” said Hanson. “That’s such a huge task, that’s all you can really think about in front of you. Four months from now, we will see. I just plan on giving my best right now and we’ll go from there.”
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