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Friday, June 26, 2009

Raiola commits to Lions for 4 years

His immediate future secure, Dominic Raiola is returning to his roots to continue his preparation for the coming season.

Raiola was 15 when he started working out with fellow Saint Louis lineman Olin Kreutz at the home of Kreutz's grandfather in East Oahu. With a contract extension finalized, Raiola's summer plans include training at the same site when he returns to Hawaii.

"That's a big reason I got this today," Raiola said after his four-year extension with the Detroit Lions was announced yesterday.

Raiola, the Lions' starting center, said he's scheduled to arrive in Hawaii today having signed the extension valued at $20 million, including $9 million guaranteed. He was entering the final year of his contract and will make $13 million this season. It'll be his ninth year with the Lions, the team that drafted him in 2001.

"I'm definitely excited," said Raiola, who is represented by Kenny Zuckerman of Priority Sports. "They brought it up and we wanted to get it done because I really didn't want to go anywhere. At least I know where I'll be after next year.

"I'm not a big fan of moving. My family's here, Olin's not too far down the road (in Chicago). Who knows what can happen in the free-agent market. That wasn't really an option."

The Lions just finished a mini-camp . Next up will be training camp in late July.

With a new coaching staff led by Jim Schwartz in place, Raiola said the Lions are ready to move on from last season's 0-16 campaign.

"I think it's behind us," Raiola said. "It happened, and like I said at the end of the season, the only thing that's going to erase it is winning."

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