Manny Ramirez looking for redemption in Lions' finale

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Manny Ramirez started every game during the Lions' 0-5 open to the season, three games at right guard and two at left.

The 32-year-old actually played solid for an offensive line that mostly struggled, but as the Lions have improved overall and along the line in the second half, Ramirez has been resigned to the bench.

"I personally feel like I let the team down not being able to — I feel like I lead by example, playing on the field and all that stuff," he said Friday. "And I guess I wasn't able to do that for them this year.

"I definitely feel like I've let them down on that part, but I can't allow myself to dwell on it too much because there's still one more game left, and I've got to take advantage of the opportunity."

With center Travis Swanson (shoulder) ruled out for the season finale in Chicago (1 p.m., FOX), Ramirez will start for just the second time since Week 5. He also replaced Swanson in Week 13.

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The Lions traded for Ramirez during the draft hoping he could provide veteran depth on an otherwise young interior offensive line. Even though he joined a team that had drafted two guards and a center in the past three drafts, Ramirez hoped to be a starter, as he was for 43 games the previous three years with the Denver Broncos.

An ankle injury to right guard Larry Warford gave Ramirez and rookie Laken Tomlinson the chance to start the first week. Then, Ramirez remained in the starting lineup ahead of Tomlinson the next two games before Warford missed two more.

Since then, though, the young linemen, including Swanson, have secured the interior spots.

"I'm just a very competitive person," Ramirez said. "Being on the sideline on game day, it's hard not to be able to be out there with the guys and competing and being able to help out."

Ramirez said he understands that all players have a role to play, and in the second half, his was that of an experienced backup.

But with Swanson out Sunday, Ramirez will have one more chance to boost his resume in advance of becoming a free agent this offseason.