For 12 seasons Jason Hanson has been a mainstay on Lions special teams and it is not only on field goals and long kickoffs.
Hanson figures he must have as many tackles as any other kicker in the NFL.
"I have a sneaking suspicion I've got to be up there in tackles for a kicker but I found out it's an unofficial stat, so there's really no way to say, `Jason has the most tackles for a kicker,' " he said. "It's not a league-recognized stat.
"I don't know how many I have. I think I have 13, 14, maybe 15, maybe more. I don't know. I've made some and playing this long I've got to be up there but there's no way to know."
Although he is only 182 pounds, Hanson is very athletic and is not reluctant to make a play on a runaway kick returner, just as he did in the Lions' Thanksgiving Day game against Green Bay.
With 245-pound Najeh Davenport bearing down on him and no other special teams player to stop Davenport on the kickoff return, Hanson did what he had to do -- he stopped being a kicker and became a full-fledged football player.
"Saved the game," coach Lions coach Steve Mariucci said.
Hanson has a big purple and green bruise on the side of his right thigh as proof that he made contact, but he says the hardest hit he ever took was from a smaller returner -- Glyn Milburn of the Chicago Bears -- several years ago.
"The guy that hit me the hardest was the smallest guy -- Glyn Milburn," Hanson said. "He hit me in Chicago a couple years ago. I must have thought it was my chance and he just rolled right over me. I held on but he hit me pretty hard."
Hanson is as reliable as ever on field goals. He has connected on 18-of-19 attempts, including 3-for-3 from 50 yards or more (52, 53, 54) and 5-of-6 between 40 and 49 yards. His only miss was a 43-yarder.
Hanson was named the NFC special teams player of the month for November for his efforts.