The Lions defused a potentially divisive situation by parting ways with 13-year veteran defensive end Robert Porcher, with the understanding he will be paid the full amount of his $1.3 million contract for the 2004 season.
Porcher, 35, is the Lions' all-time sack leader with 95.5, but his production has slipped sharply in the last two seasons and he has not been active even once in the Lions' first seven games of 2004.
Porcher had hoped to contribute to the Lions' return to NFL respectability -- not necessarily as a starter but as a member of their defensive line rotation.
As it turned out, there were questions whether he would survive the team's final roster cuts Sept. 5, and he did not show enough in the preseason or practice sessions to unseat any of the eight defensive linemen who are getting regular playing time.
The Lions and Porcher made his retirement official early this week after he was excused from practice Friday and did not make the trip with the team to Dallas on Sunday.
At a press conference Monday, Porcher expressed his thanks to the Lions, who originally drafted him in the first round of the 1992 NFL draft, and his regrets about having to bow out under the less-than-desired conditions.
"I would have loved to have not had this conversation until later, but the time has come," he said. "And it's right. I know it's right. I'm OK.
"We all think we can play forever. I'm no different. (But) these guys in the locker room mean so much to me and the success of this team means so much to me that sometimes there comes a point when you've got to let it go."
Porcher Calls It A Career
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