Will the Detroit Lions need a new kicker for the 2013 season? Jason Hanson is officially still undecided if he will return for a 23rd season but he indicated this weekend that a decision will likely come in the next few weeks. He is a free agent but has already said he would not kick for anyone but the Lions if he decides to play in 2013.
Hanson did give some indication as to what factors he will base his decision on while signing autographs at SportsFest on Saturday:
I think there’s plusses and minuses. The reason to stop is just to not – I don’t want to be someone who fades away and, as a kicker it’s pretty obvious if you did that or not. Even if I come back, there’s no guarantees I make the team, I suppose. But it’s just mostly for me mentally, I want to feel like I actually could be better and I’m willing to do that.
That quote is consistent to what he told MLive at the end of the 2012 season:
I don’t want to fade away. I might, but as long as I feel like I’m ready to try to be the best and come back and be as good as ever, then I’m in.
Assuming Hanson’s evaluation of his skills is the determining factor, Lions fans should expect him to return. Kicking is about power and accuracy and Hanson still has both. He finished 2012 with two field goals in only three attempts from 50 yards and more and made 32 of his 36 total field goal attempts. That’s good enough for a 88.9% accuracy rate, better than his career average of 82.4%.
As long as the fire still burns in Hanson’s belly, he has shown he still has the ability to be an above average NFL kicker.