In the immediate aftermath of the Lions’ NFC Championship Game loss, center Frank Ragnow confirmed he was playing through multiple injuries. His remarks pointed to a period of contemplating his immediate future, but no thought about hanging up his cleats was included in that process.
Ragnow confirmed (via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press) that he will play in 2024. At the age of 27, a retirement decision certainly would have come as a surprise, though he has an extensive list of injuries that he has dealt with during his career. Ragnow had a number of ailments in 2023, including a toe issue that has been recurring for the past three years as well as knee and ankle sprains sustained in the divisional round.
“It takes a toll on you,” Ragnow said at the end of the season. “It really takes a toll on you, so I need to find a way to get back to Frank and I don’t regret any of this at all, but it weighs on you and I’m just going to take some time and really figure everything out to make sure that I’m feeling good, not only for me the football player but for me to be the best husband and best father and everything with that as well.”
The former first-rounder has been a mainstay on Detroit’s O-line since his rookie season as a left guard. His shift to the middle paved the way for Ragnow to become one of the league’s best centers, and he earned a third Pro Bowl nod in the past four years for his performance in 2023. Durability has not been an issue for much of his career, with the exception of 2021 when his toe injury required season-ending surgery.
Ragnow noted that it is yet to be determined if he will undergo any procedures this offseason. He added, however, that he will alter his routine in an attempt to be in a better position health-wise by the start of the 2024 campaign. Ragnow is under contract for three more years and is scheduled to carry cap hits of $12.8M, $14M and $16.35M in that span, so his health will remain a key storyline for the Lions’ well-regarded offensive front.