Allen Park — Lions center Dominic Raiola said he didn't think about the possibility of Sunday's 16-14 win over the Vikings being his final game at Ford Field.
Even before the 2014 season started, Raiola expected and hoped to be back in the NFL in 2015 to play his 15th season, so for now, he's following coach Jim Caldwell's lead and worrying only about playing the Bears next Sunday.
"I never thought like that," Raiola said after the game. "I still believe I've got more. (My future will) take care of itself. The week-to-week grind is what I'm worried about right now."
In regards to the long-term success of the franchise, All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh potentially playing his final home game with the Lions before he hits free agency was a bigger storyline last week, but this could be the end of an era for Raiola.
A second-round pick in 2001, Raiola has started 202 games at center for the Lions. Earlier this season, the Ford Field video board showed him becoming emotional as the announcer honored him for his franchise-best 200th start.
Raiola said Sunday's win over the Vikings had a similar feel to the 2011 playoff-clinching game win the Chargers or the Monday night win over the Bears earlier that season, in part because the crowd knew the Packers lost to the Bills. The Lions finished 7-1 at Ford Field this year, their best home record since 1995.
Raiola had the best year of his career in 2013, which helped him re-sign for another year. He's struggled at times this year, but still hopes to return next season. The Lions drafted Travis Swanson in the third round last year, and he could start at center or left guard next year if they don't re-sign Raiola and Rob Sims.
Caldwell didn't want to discuss the potential swan song for Raiola on Monday. After all, if the Lions (10-4) win their final two games or the Packers lose in Tampa Bay, Raiola, who has been a captain in team-high three games this year, could play his first home playoff game.
"His leadership is invaluable," Caldwell said. "What he does on and off the field is just absolutely incredible. The example he sets for the young guys that and our (entire) team -- he's one of those guys that just never stops. A high-effort, high-energy guy and he loves his craft."
Free agent scrum
Former Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne visited the Lions last week, but Caldwell didn't suggest a signing was imminent.
Caldwell said Hayne held a workout with multiple teams in San Diego recently, and his visit to Allen Park last Thursday was an opportunity to see another facility. He reportedly visited San Francisco and Seattle, too.
"We take a look at a lot of different people all the time," Caldwell said. "It's a constant sort of exploration for us. We're always trying to look to find ways to improve, and we're looking at every option that's out there available to us."
Wide receivers Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald are among eight finalists for the NFL's new Sportsmanship Award.
The Cardinals and Lions wideouts are joined in the finals by linebackers Thomas Davis of Carolina and Chad Greenway of Minnesota; safety Troy Polamalu of Pittsburgh; defensive end DeMarcus Ware of Denver; quarterback Alex Smith of Kansas City; and special teams ace Matthew Slater of New England.
A panel of former players — Hall of Famer Curtis Martin, Warrick Dunn, Karl Mecklenburg and Leonard Wheeler — selected the finalists from 32 nominees, one from each team. The winner will be determined by a vote of current NFL players; the finalists will be listed on the Pro Bowl ballot.
The award will be presented during the "NFL Honors" program on Jan. 31, the night before the Super Bowl, when The Associated Press announces its eight award winners, including MVP and Coach of the Year.
Associated Press contributed