Ex-Cats

Ex-Cat Larry Warford, 4-year starter for Lions, considering free agency

Detroit Lions guard Larry Warford is seen on the bench during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Detroit.
Detroit Lions guard Larry Warford is seen on the bench during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Detroit. AP

Larry Warford said the Detroit Lions, who drafted him in 2013, always will be special to him. But the right guard admitted Monday that he’s considering NFL free agency.

“I have my family to think about, too,” said Warford, who is engaged. “I’m starting up a family, so that’s going to factor in. If it was just me by myself, I’d definitely … . There are going to be a lot of factors in it, but I’m not thinking too much about it right now. I just want to get my mind off of football for a while, recharge and get ready to hit this offseason pretty good.”

The 25-year-old Warford, who starred in high school at Madison Central and in college at Kentucky, has been a mainstay at right guard since the Lions drafted him in the third round. He has been the Lions’ most consistent offensive linemen and has approached Pro Bowl-caliber play.

But he will be an unrestricted free agent and almost certainly will command more on the open market than the Lions might be willing to spend with options such as Graham Glasgow and Laken Tomlinson already in the rotation.

For now, Warford said he is planning on testing the free agent market, although he said he hasn’t put a lot of deep thought into the process.

“I don’t know too much right now,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of factors into what’s going to go on in the future. … I just kind of want to decompress right now before I start thinking about the future.”

Of course, personnel decisions are a two-way street, and the Lions could make Warford an aggressive offer. But Warford Monday did not want to gauge the interest level of Lions general manager Bob Quinn.

“I really don’t know,” he said. “I mean, I’m not going to get too far into that. That’s one thing I never want to get too caught up in is the business side of the NFL. That’s not for me. I’ll just go ahead and tell you right now: That’s not my cup of tea. All I want to do is play football and block three-techniques.

“So I really haven’t been looking too much into it. All I know is I just tried to put the best season I can together this year, and now I’m going to go to this offseason and just hit it as hard as I can.”

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