After 14 seasons, a franchise-record 203 starts and two losing playoff appearances, the Lions will end the Dominic Raiola era.
Raiola, 36, is not in the team's plans for 2015, his agent, Kenny Zuckerman, told The Detroit News on Monday.
Raiola played the 2014 season on a one-year deal for the second straight season. He made 15 starts, but was suspended for the Lions' Week 17 game in Green Bay with the NFC North title on the line. He returned for the playoff loss to the Cowboys in the wild-card round, just the second postseason appearance of his career.
After the season ended, Raiola said he hoped to return for a 15th season with the Lions, a message he made clear since the Lions signed him to a one-year deal last offseason.
"I'm optimistic," he said. "I think I will be (back), but I'm not going to sit here and tell you I'm not. I still want to play. I still think I have a lot to offer, a lot to offer this locker room."
With Raiola out of the picture, Travis Swanson will be the presumed starting center for 2015. The Lions drafted Swanson in the third round last year as the center of the future, and he played well in Raiola's place against the Packers.
Lions coaches praised Raiola for his veteran leadership, and he was a game captain three times in 2014. As much as Raiola helped younger players, though, his career will be remembered as one filled with controversy.
Raiola, a second-round pick from Nebraska in 2001, had six safety-related violations since 2010, including two in 2014. Against the Patriots in Week 12, he received a $10,000 fine for punching defensive lineman Zach Moore in the back of the head. In Week 16, he received a one-game suspension without pay for stomping on Bears defensive tackle Ego Ferguson.
Raiola also infamously directed his middle fingers at Ford Field fans after a loss to the Vikings in 2008, directed vulgarities at fans in Miami after a win in 2010 and yelled gay slurs to members of the University of Wisconsin marching band before a game in Green Bay in 2013.
The day after the Lions lost to the Cowboys, Raiola declined most questions about his future and fought tears as he broke down the game.
"We just came up short. That's it," he said. "We can't take away what we did this year because there was a lot of good, but we came up short of our goal.
"I don't know if everybody knows these chances don't come around that often. We had an opportunity yesterday to win that game, and it still hurts, it still stings because this is the end. This is it. This is the end of the season."
At the time, though, it was unclear whether or not it would be the end of the road for Raiola. A few days after the season ended, general manager Martin Mayhew said the team had made some decisions about personnel, but would not disclose them as some of the players had yet to be informed.
Left guard Rob Sims also has an uncertain future as he's also an unrestricted free agent. He had a lackluster season in his fifth year with the Lions and ninth in the NFL, and if the Lions don't re-sign him, they'll be moving on from two guys who started all but one game the past five years.
"Both outstanding guys, Rob and Dom," Mayhew said. "I think the world of both of those guys. They've been big contributors for us over the past few years."
For all of his transgressions, Raiola made clear that he loved the city of Detroit. Sims even said at one point this season that Raiola was no longer Hawaiian, calling him a Detroiter instead. That's part of the reason losses, like the one against the Cowboys, hurt Raiola so much.
"There's no words," he said of the Dallas game. "I just wanted so much more for this team, guys in this locker room. The city deserved so much more."