Lions LT Jeff Backus is retiring from football.
The No. 18 pick of the 2001 draft, Backus missed one game in 12 seasons. He was never a Pro Bowler or All Pro along the way, but was a strong pass protector up until 2012, where his play began to slip. He had been bandied about as a candidate for release before today's announcement. The Lions are now left with holes at both tackle spots, and will have to thrust unproven 2012 first-round pick Riley Reiff into one of them. The owners of the No. 5 pick, the Lions should be linked to each of the draft's top tackles between now and April 25.