The Detroit Lions could go from one of the most automatic kickers in NFL history to one that was dumped by the San Francisco 49ers after he made just 69 percent of his attempts in 2012. We're going to call that a downgrade.
The Lions plan to bring in David Akers for a visit next week, the Detroit Free Press' Dave Birkett reported. Jason Hanson, an unrestricted free agent, recently told the team he planned to return for a 22nd season. He's the league's oldest player at 42 and is the No. 3 point scorer in NFL history.
The sides, however, have not come to terms on a new deal.
"It's not a system that provides for a lot of allowance for sentimentality," Lions president Tom Lewand said at the NFL owners meetings. "We have the utmost respect for Jason and want to have him back, but it's a situation where everything has to fit. The salary cap is a real restraint for all 32 clubs and we have to operate within that and within our plans. So we've had our discussions with Jason and like I said we have the utmost respect for him personally and professionally which is why we want to have him back."
Many Lions fans have never seen a game without Hanson on the roster. He's missed a total of nine games since 1992. Boyz II Men, Sir Mix A-Lot and Kriss Kross had the top three Billboard singles in 1992. Calvin Johnson was 7 years old. Barry Sanders had six more years to play before he abruptly walked away from the game.
Hanson is all many Lions fans know. The transition might be easier if he hadn't connected on 88.9 percent of his attempts last season. He's still one of the league's most consistent players, regardless of position.
Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.