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Jim Caldwell says Jason Hanson didn't reach out to Lions

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Jim Caldwell laughed at the premise Friday morning.

He was asked whether a report that the Detroit Lions rebuffed an overture from former kicker Jason Hanson was true. So, he laughed.

“He didn't reach out to me and I think someone, Tom (Lewand) answered that today when he talked about it a little bit, but obviously we know he’s a great kicker,” Caldwell said. “Means a lot to what he’s done for this organization, is real tremendous, but we have our guy in place and really pleased about that.”

That guy is Matt Prater, whom the Lions signed this week after cutting Alex Henery on Monday. Prater is the third kicker Detroit will have a game this season to fix their special-teams woes. The Lions are 4-of-12 on field goals so far this year with Henery and Nate Freese, who was cut after the third week of the year.

Prater, who was the most accurate kicker in Denver Broncos history, was signed to a one-year deal worth $855,000.

Here's the thing about Hanson, too. Even if that report were true, it would not have behooved the Lions to bring Hanson back. Rarely in sports do second acts turn out well -- especially if the second act is when a player is way past his prime, and at 44 years old, Hanson is past his prime.

And why would the Lions want to do that? There's too much potential damage involved. If Hanson did return and was unable to kick effectively, the team would be in a position where they'd have to cut a beloved player or keep a kicker who wasn't getting it done. And it would have left a bad final memory of one of the best players in franchise history.

If it didn't work, Detroit also would have likely missed out on Prater, who had the support of the Lions locker room as well and is a kicker in his prime (30 years old) who has shown to be exceedingly accurate. So a Hanson-Lions reunion wouldn't have made sense anyway.

Caldwell said he talks with his team every Monday about potential roster moves that will be made. When he told his team they were bringing in Prater for a tryout, the players in the locker room were noticeably pleased by his potential presence.

“When we did that this particular week, when his name was announced, it was a rousing applause,” Caldwell said. “Let me put it that way.”

Caldwell pointed to a specific instance in practice, where the team was working on plays to get into field goal range. Quarterback Matthew Stafford threw a pass away on second down and then turned to Caldwell and asked if he had anything to worry about, because Prater can make kicks from there.

So there is the trust the Lions have in Prater, at least for now.