Allen Park, MI – 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 November 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 years."
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 on Thursday.
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.