When it came time to make the decision to retire, kicker Jason Hanson made it clear it was the heel pain that was the main factor. It was not the contract.
Hanson spoke at a retirement press conference at the Detroit Lions practice facility on Tuesday.
He said it was an extremely hard decision and he prayed a ton.
The 42-year-old Hanson said he waited a few months after the season before he started to train hard.
“When I started working out hard again, all the systems were kind of a go except one and that was my heel. And while my heel pain has not incapacitating, it was still bothering me after all the rest and rehab and things that I had done, and I realized that could be a problem,’’ Hanson said.
The heel pain, he referred to it as plantar fasciitis, is in his left foot, his plant foot that slams into the ground on every kick.
“It was just worse after kicking. So, part of me realized that lots of guys play hurt. I’ve played hurt and that’s just kind of the story of the NFL. I thought, ‘Well, I can fight through it, I’ve done it before.’ But another side of me, this time, was really resisting the thought of doing it again, playing compromised and hurt,’’ he added.
He made the decision that he didn’t want to play hurt any more.
“I didn’t want to have special running exercises and lifting while everybody else was doing their own thing. I didn’t want to have to explain how come I wasn’t kicking the ball hard today or why I needed a couple extra days off. I wanted to play my best, and I decided to retire because I wasn’t sure I could do that. So, that’s how I came to the decision,’’ Hanson said.
When asked about contract talks, he said that was not the issue. Hanson made $2.55 million last season and was a free agent.