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Jeff Backus retires after 12 seasons with Detroit Lions

Jeff Backus has decided to call it a career.

The Detroit Lions announced Thursday that the left tackle is retiring after 12 seasons. He played his entire NFL career with the Lions after being selected with the 18th overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft.

Backus never was selected to the Pro Bowl, but he was a model of dependability for the Lions, who not long ago endured an 0-16 season, along with all the other carnage of the last decade. Backus missed only one start in 12 years.

The Lionsadded running back Reggie Bush on Wednesday, but they now have serious work to do in rebuilding an offensive line to protect Bush and quarterback Matthew Stafford. Right guard Stephen Peterman was released, and right tackle Gosder Cherilus left for greener (as in money) pastures with the Indianapolis Colts. With Backus out of the equation, the Lions need to replace three starters.

Riley Reiff, the Lions' first-round draft pick in 2012, likely will slide into one of the tackle slots. Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard are in-house options. Look for the Lions to dip into a deep draft class at offensive line to fill in the gaps.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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