Meet current Detroit Lions and alumni at the 97.1 FM’s annual SportsFest event

Posted by Tara Altman on February 15, 2013 – 3:07 pm

The Detroit will be participating at 97.1 FM’s annual SportsFest event this Saturday, February 16.

The event is free (parking is $5) and will give fans the opportunity to meet current players, kicker Jason Hanson and wide receiver Ryan Broyles, and former Lions’ Cory Schlesinger and Eric Hipple.

When: Saturday, February 16, 2013

Time: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Where: Suburban Collection Showplace
Exhibit Hall A
46100 Grand River, Novi, MI 48374

The Lions will be hosting interactive inflatables, youth football clinics featuring alumni Schlesinger and Hipple, a Madden Xbox Video gaming area, and more.

In addition to the Lions, the Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons will be hosting their own areas as well.

For more information, check out:

Autograph Sessions* (schedule subject to change):

10:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Lions Placekicker, Jason Hanson

2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Former Detroit Lions Fullback, Cory Schlesinger

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Detroit Lions Wide Receiver, Ryan Broyles

*A one-time donation fee of $10 will be charged for autographs, with all proceeds benefiting the 97.1 The Ticket / Beaumont Student Heart Check program.

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Stafford named 2012 offensive team captain for third straight season

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on September 4, 2012 – 3:22 pm

Quarterback Matthew Stafford was named a 2012 offensive team captain for the third straight season, as voted on by his teammates.

“It’s always nice to be recognized by your teammates as a captain, and to share that honor with some great guys is awesome,” said Stafford, Tuesday, to

Also named captains were: kicker Jason Hanson (special teams), wide receiver Calvin Johnson (offense), linebacker Stephen Tulloch (defense), defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch (defense) and safety John Wendling (special teams).

For Johnson and Wendling, this is the first time in their careers they will wear the ‘C’ on their jerseys. Tulloch is a first-time Lions’ captain, but was a captain his final year with Tennessee. Vanden Bosch is in his third year as Lions’ team captain, having also been a captain with the Titans three years.

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Hanson will be Lions kicker in 2012 with expected release of Derek Dimke

Posted by ttwentyman on August 27, 2012 – 11:26 am

Jason Hanson will be the Lions kicker for a 21st season in 2012 with the expected release of rookie kicker Derek Dimke. Hanson, 42, is the Lions all-time leading scorer as well as well as the all-time leader in field goals (463) and extra points (627).

“In four years I don’t know that he’s ever not said ‘I’m ready.'” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said this week of Hanson. “There have been some where we figure in pregame, ‘Hey we’re good from 55’ or from 56 and we might have one from 58 and look at him and he just nods and goes out. He’s old school that way. He’s just going to go out on the field and do his job. He’s had a very long career because he’s been consistent and he’s risen to challenges along the way.”

The Lions notified nine other players this morning that they are expected to be released today. No transactions are official until 4 p.m.

Among those players are fullback James Bryant, receiver Jarett Dillard, running back Stephfon Green, safety Sean Jones, guard Jacques McClendon, linebacker Slade Norris, guard J.C. Oram, defensive tackle Bobby Skinner and receiver Terrence Toliver.

The Lions have until 4 p.m. to get down to 75 players on the roster.

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Jason Hanson and John Wendling share Yale Lary Special Teams MVP honors

Posted by ttwentyman on January 19, 2012 – 5:03 pm

Lions kicker Jason Hanson and safety John Wendling have been voted the Lions’ Yale Lary Special Teams Most Valuable Players.

It’s the sixth time in Hanson’s 20-year career with the Lions he’s garnered the honor and Wendling’s first.

Hanson converted 24-of-29 field goal attempts and made all 54 of his extra point attempts this season. His 66.3-yard average on kickoffs was the fifth-highest of his career.

Hanson quelled any doubts about his health in training camp when he beat out Dave Rayner for the job. Hanson missed eight games in 2010 because of a torn legitimate in his kicking leg. He came back healthy and strong this season and set a number of NFL and team records this season.

Hanson, 41, is the team’s all-time leading scorer (2,016) and became the sixth player in league history to connect on 400 field goals in a career. With a 50-yard field goal against the Chargers in a Week 16, Hanson became the first NFL kicker to have 50 50-yard field goals.

“It’s funny, I had John Kasay, 42, during my time in Carolina and there’s two guys (Hanson and Kasay) who’ve been at it for 20 years and they are similar in a lot of ways,” said Lions special teams coach Danny Crossman. “They are great players, but more importantly they take care of their bodies. They know how to prepare, they know when to pull forward, they know when to pull back and then they’ve both been unbelievably blessed.

“You look at Jason, the way he kicked the ball off this year was really, really impressive after the injuries the last couple years. We couldn’t have been happier with the season he had.”

Hanson has said he’d like to return for a 21st season in 2012 if the Lions will have him back.

Wendling filled a number of different roles in the special teams unit this year because of injuries. Wendling (6-1, 222) is at his best on the outside as a gunner with his unique blend of his size and speed, but had to play inside at times this season because of injuries.

“John has been a highly productive player and actually we had to play him in some spots early in the season where he wasn’t as productive but he did it willingly to help the team because we were short in some other spots,” Crossman said.

“But when we got rolling again and he was playing at more his natural spots he was the same productive guy he was a year ago. (He) made a lot of plays and led the team in tackles again, just like he did last year.”

Since entering the NFL in 2007, Wendling has recorded 90 special teams tackles, the most in the NFL. He had 17 this season.

“John is a true pro. He works his butt off, he does everything right, plays hard, plays physical, plays smart and is a natural leader,” Crossman said.

The award is in honor of Yale Lary, an All-Pro defensive back who was also one of the NFL’s greatest punters. Lary collected 50 career interceptions as a safety for the Lions, but also won punting titles in 1959, ’61 and ’63. Lary played in nine Pro Bowls and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979.

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Kevin Smith, Jason Hanson active vs. Bears

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on November 13, 2011 – 3:46 pm

Running back Kevin Smith, signed following Detroit’s bye week, is active today at Chicago.

Though Smith has only had one week of practice with the Lions, his familiarity with Detroit’s offensive system could make him a go-to player.

Also active is kicker Jason Hanson, who was limited this week with a cut on his left knee. Punter Ryan Donahue is not active. Punting for the Lions will be recent signing Robert Malone.

Running back Maurice Morris will get the start in place of Jahvid Best.

Full list of Detroit Lions inactives:

  • QB Drew Stanton
  • P Ryan Donahue
  • CB Alphonso Smith
  • CB Don Carey
  • RB Jahvid Best
  • G Leonard Davis
  • DT Andre Fluellen

Full list of Chicago Bears inactives:

  • QB Nathan Enderle
  • RB Kahlil Bell
  • T Gabe Carimi
  • DT Matt Toeaina
  • TE Andre Smith
  • DE Nick Reed
  • DE Corey Wootton

Defensive tackle Anthony Adams will start in place of Toeaina at nose tackle; C Chris Spencer will start at right guard in place of Lance Louis; Louis will start at right tackle in place of Carimi.

Full starters and inactives.

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Lewand, Lions comment on sudden death of beat writer Tom Kowalski

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on August 29, 2011 – 1:18 pm

Tom Kowalski, longtime Detroit Lions writer for Booth Newspapers and, died this morning, according to his fiancee, Diane Wolan.

“The entire Lions organization, the Ford family, and me, personally, were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Tom Kowalski this morning,” said Detroit Lions Team President Tom Lewand. “Tom was a true professional, the consummate beat writer, somebody who brought a lot of tremendous information to our fans — even in times of disagreement; we always had the utmost respect for his professionalism.

“He will be sorely missed and our deepest sympathies go out to Diane and to his entire family. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of them.”

“I’ll just say this about Tom,” said Head Coach Jim Schwartz. “The one thing he always tried to do was get it right. He knew football and he always wanted to get it right and we had a lot of respect for that.”

Schwartz lets the first question go unanswered in honor of Kowalski

“It was tough hearing the news today about Tom because I felt like I lost a good friend and not just a writer,” said Defensive Coordinator Gunther Cunningham. “When he asked me questions, it was important to him to be right. Obviously, he always did his homework and that’s what I respected most about him. To me, he was an old-school writer. He was honest and fair.

“The way I look at him, he is all Detroit. People in this area that I met, they are all alike and he epitomized that. Our conversations were solid, and there was mutual respect for each other. Beyond football, we would also talk about life.

“I am sad that he is gone. God bless his family and friends.”

“On behalf of the team, we consider him part of the family; we saw him every day,” said center Dominic Raiola. “I dealt with Tom every day; I’d see him out here. (It will) take a lot of time to get over this.

“In the end, Tom always had the best interest of everybody in that locker room. He always wanted to know more about why things happened on the field and he always did a good job of that. He was a good person; he was fun to be around. (I) had a lot more personal relationship with him, so that was some tough news to hear.”

“I have too many (memories),” said kicker Jason Hanson. “It is one of those things, just like with everybody, takes you by surprise. It kind of knocks the wind out of you. You don’t know what to say or think yet. It is just amazing. Of all the reporters, I think he was the one that got it right most of the time and really had the insight.

“Beyond that, regardless of any of that, he will be missed by all of us. And everyone in this locker room, their condolences and their prayers and their thoughts go to his family and friends. I am just at a loss of words. I don’t know what to think. We all are like ‘Is it true?’ We are devastated.”

“Tom was a great guy,” said quarterback Matthew Stafford. “He was a big football guy; you could tell he knew football, he loved it. He was always a good guy in our locker room and we were blessed to have him around.

“As coach pointed out on the field, he said ‘You know, he always tried to get it right, which is something you respect from a reporter.’ He will definitely be missed.”

A collection of Tweets honoring Tom

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Hanson Placed in Injured/Reserve

Posted by Tara Altman on December 2, 2010 – 11:37 am

The Lions announced today that they have placed 19-year veteran K Jason Hanson on injured/reserve.

Hanson suffered a knee injury against the New York Jets (11/7) and was inactive for the past three games.

Over the span of his career in Detroit, Hanson has become the Lions’ all-time scoring leader with 1,890 points as well as the all-time leader in field goals (439) and extra points (573).

For more information on Hanson, please click here for his full bio.

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Schwartz Announces 2010 Team Captains

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on September 6, 2010 – 3:29 pm

Lions players voted on their team captains for the 2010 season and Head Coach Jim Schwartz announced the names following Monday’s practice.

Offensive team captains are QB Matthew Stafford and C Dominic Raiola; defensive team captain is DE Kyle Vanden Bosch and special teams captain is K Jason Hanson.

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Hanson to get Scope on Non-Kicking Knee

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on August 3, 2010 – 2:42 pm

Head Coach Jim Schwartz announced prior to Tuesday’s practice that veteran kicker Jason Hanson is scheduled to have a scope – a minor procedure – done on his non-kicking knee.

Hanson injured the knee yesterday.

Schwartz: “The MRI showed a little bit of cartilage and we’re anticipating a similar situation as last year. He had some problems last year early on in training camp. At least this time, it’s real early.”

Schwartz doesn’t want to put a timetable on the injury, but he has confirmed that the Lions aren’t going to jeopardize Hanson’s start to the season by pushing him to come back during camp.

Schwartz: “(We) really won’t know a whole until they get in there, but we don’t anticipate it being anything but minor.”

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