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Detroit Lions star reveals decision on retiring or returning for 2024 NFL season

Detroit Lions
Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions soon learned after their NFC Championship Game loss that offensive coordinator Ben Johnson would return in 2024. However, the future of All-Pro center Frank Ragnow was unknown until now.

Ragnow, 28 in May, dominated this past season and earned his third Pro Bowl selection and second All-Pro honors in his career. While he battled through injuries this past season, Detroit wasn’t completely certain if their leader on the offensive line would return in 2024.

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On the official injury report before the NFC Championship, Detroit listed Ragnow with bag, knee, ankle and toe injuries. He managed to play through the pain, but the severity of the issues was much worse than publicly reported.

After dealing with an ‘inoperable’ toe injury the season prior, Ragnow played through severe pain and discomfort this past fall and throughout the postseason. The injuries he suffered are expected to have long-term consequences post-football, which is one of the reasons why the organization was going to be patient in letting him decide his future.

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Appearing at the NFL Honors Award show on Thursday, Frank Ragnow told reporters that he is not retiring and will play for the Lions in 2024.

“I’m not retiring, I just need a few weeks to get healthy.”

Detroit Lions center Frank Ragnow on his plans for the 2024 season
  • Frank Ragnow contract: $12.8 million cap hit in 2024, $14.05 million cap hit in 2025

Ragnow’s return is just as important to Detroit’s offense as Johnson’s committing for another season as offensive coordinator. He was arguably the best center in the NFL last season and maintaining that continuity on one of the best offensive lines in the NFL is critical to Detroit’s success.

Much like with Johnson, though, Detroit will start needing to prepare for a future without Ragnow. Injuries have already taken a toll on him and given retirement was at least briefly considered this offseason, it’s reasonable to believe he walks away from football by 2026.

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