Center Dominic Raiola will return for his 14th season with the Lions after signing a one-year deal this week, per multiple reports.
Raiola, who has played in 204 games, had one of his best seasons in 2013 despite the Lions 7-9 record. Drafted in 2001, he has played in just one playoff game.
The 35-year-old Raiola took a pay cut before the 2013 season to return with no guarantee that he would be a starter. He has not missed a start since 2008.
Raiola, a leader on offense, earned his start early in training camp. He and left guard Rob Sims started with three youngsters — left tackle Riley Reiff, rookie right guard Larry Warford and right tackle LaAdrian Waddle.
The line allowed just 23 sacks, second best in the NFL behind Denver. The line was a question mark before the season but was solid throughout. It’s one reason offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn will return under Jim Caldwell.
Raiola’s signing means that three starters remain who could become unrestricted free agents — tight end Brandon Pettigrew, defensive end Willie Young and cornerback Rashean Mathis.