The Lions today inked center Dominic Raiola to a four-year contract extension, keeping him with the club through 2013. The deal includes $20 million in new money, with $9 million guaranteed. The center said Thursday that he never thought about playing out the last year of his deal and moving on.
“There’s so much I put into this,” Raiola said. “I think it’d be like quitting. This place is worse now than when I came in. I definitely want to be a part of when this thing is turned around.” He was drafted by the Lions in the second round of the 2001 season.
“I’ve seen pretty much every other sports franchise win in this city, and there’s nothing more that I want for the city than to see this team win,” Raiola said. “This city’s special to me. It’s hard times right now, and I’ve been through a lot with the fans. I think that’s just because I’ve been here for so long. I’m excited to try to change that view on the Lions.”
Raiola is a leader on the team, and at 6-foot-1, 295-pounds he is a bit undersized, but still is a solid player at the center position. “He’s got great leverage,” coach Jim Schwartz said. “He’s got great balance. He’s a good athlete. And the center position, you don’t need a giant to play center. Center’s one of the positions that you can get by with a smaller guy.”