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Retired Norcross grad returns to NFL as part-time coach

Former Detroit Lions offensive tackle Jeff Backus may have retired, but the Norcross grad will remain engaged as a part-time coaching staff intern this season.

Backus will work with the linemen and assist offensive line coaches Jeremiah Washburn and first-year assistant Terry Heffernan.

"It really just started with Jeremiah asking me to come in and sit in on meetings and watch some of their workouts and to be a mentor to some of their young offensive tackles," Backus told the Lions' official website. "They don't have any veteran offensive tackles in the room right now.

"I still live in the area and he just asked me, when I have time, to come in and do what I've always done."

Backus insisted on remaining in a limited capacity, preferring to spend more time with his wife and three young children.

"My No. 1 thing now that I'm retired is taking care of my responsibilities around the house and taking some trips that we haven't been able to do and living our life," he said. "But at the same time, I have a lot of friends with the Lions. I really like the offensive line group.

"I want to see them succeed. So, when I have time, and I'm available during the offseason program, I'm going to try to be down there and help them out."

This is strictly a part-time gig for Backus, a former first-round pick out of Michigan who completed his career holding the franchise record for consecutive starts (187) and is third all-time in team history for most games played (191).

This is an unpaid position for Backus, who said he doesn't ever envision a full-time coaching role in his future. But he did enjoy working with some of the younger tackles on the roster -- including 2012 first-round pick Riley Reiff -- toward the tail end of his playing career.