After 10 NFL seasons, and six with the Lions, Tahir Whitehead went back to Allen Park on Friday to announce his retirement.
Tahir Whitehead spent his final four NFL seasons in other uniforms. But the 2012 fifth-round draft pick of the Detroit Lions out of Temple was back in town on Friday, as he signed a ceremonial one-day contract so he could retire as a member of the team he played his first six seasons for.
Whitehead missed just three games in his six seasons with the Lions, and two of those were in his rookie season. He had over 100 total tackles in four straight seasons overall, two in Detroit (2016-2017) and two with the Oakland Raiders (2018-2019), with 2016 as a Lion standing as his career-best tackle total (132).
After those two seasons with the Raiders, Whitehead played one season for the Carolina Panthers in 2020 (51 tackles over 14 games, with nine starts). Then he played three games on special teams for the Arizona Cardinals last season, as he spent most of his time on the practice squad.
For his career Whitehead played in 142 games, starting 95, with 685 tackles, six interceptions, six fumble recoveries and three sacks. He played 93 games and made 54 starts for the Lions, totaling 399 tackles, four interceptions, five fumble recoveries and three sacks in those six campaigns.
Tahir Whitehead wanted to retire as a Detroit Lion
Via Pride of Detroit, Whitehead made it clear it was important to him to come back and retire a Lion.
"I probably preferred to never leave, if you ask me,” Whitehead said. “Like just the city itself, the city I’ve always held it near and dear to my heart. So I wanted to play my whole career here, and so for me, that’s why it was important to come back and retire a Lion.”"
Not many fifth-round picks last long enough to play 10 NFL seasons, let alone get six seasons as a basically a full-time starter. So kudos to Whitehead for that, and props to the organization for opening the door for him to come back and retire as a Lion.