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Dominic Raiola confirms he is leaving Detroit Lions after 203 stars

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After a franchise-record 203 starts, Dominic Raiola is to leave the Detroit Lions this offseason.

203 and out

Speculation concerning the controversial center's future in Motor City began with a report by The Detroit Free Press claiming that the Lions had informed the veteran that they would not be bringing him back for the 2015 NFL season.

And now Raiola, via reporter Tim Twentyman (a writer for the Lions' official website), has confirmed that he will indeed miss out on a 15th season with franchise.

The news may come as a surprise to some Detroit Lions fans who may struggle to imagine a team with Raiola in the center spot. But, while his franchise record for starts is unlikely to be beaten anytime soon, the player's 2014 was not one to be remembered.

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Difficult 2014

As well as being ranked as the 37th best center in the league, this year Raiola has courted much controversy with his antics on the field.

Raiola followed up a garbage time cut-block on Patriots defensive tackle Zach Moore in Week 11 - a cheap shot he freely admitted to - with a one game suspension for the Lions' Wild Card playoff match up after a stomp on the ankle of Chicago Bears lineman Ego Ferguson in the regular-season finale. 

These unsavoury actions, coupled with a downturn in form, have clearly added up to a trip to free agency with the Lions unwilling to keep their former second-round draft pick on the roster any longer.

After 14 years of service you can expect the Detroit Lions to offer much praise in Raiola's direction in the coming days but it will be interesting to see which team is willing to take a punt on the now 36-year-old.

What do you think Lions fans? Would you have given Raiola another year, or are the team right to cut their loses on the veteran? Let us know in the comments section below...

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