Detroit Lions: 30 greatest players in franchise history

Detroit Lions. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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Jason Hanson, Detroit Lions
CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 22: (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

5. player. 50. . Kicker. (1992-2012). Jason Hanson

Not only do I have two kickers in the top-30, I also have one in the top-five. But Jason Hanson wasn’t just a kicker for his team, he was one of the best players ever to suit up as a Lion.

There were many football aficionados during the early 1990s who no doubt scoffed at the fact that Detroit drafted Hanson in the second round of the 1992 NFL Draft. Hailing from Washington State University, the former Cougar more than justified his selection with two decades plus of reliable kicking.

His 21 years as a Lion makes him the longest tenured player in team history. As a result, Hanson holds the NFL record for most seasons played with one team. In addition to playing in more games as a Lion than anyone in history (327), Hanson is also entrenched as the team’s all-time leading scorer with 2,150 points scored.

A two-time Pro Bowler in 1997 and 1999, Hanson connected on 82.4 percent of his field goal attempts with a career long of 56 yards. 98.8 percent of his extra points we’re good. He was even called into service as a punter 15 times in his career, averaging 35.6 yards per punt.

Hanson was also known to come up big during clutch moments for his team, which is a vital trait for any player, even more so for a kicker when the game is on the line. Nine times when his team had to rely on the swing of his right leg to win a game, he knocked the ball right through the middle of the uprights.

All in all, not bad for a kicker taken in the second round of the draft.