Justin Jackson retires from NFL; Lions sign Benny Snell Jr.

DETROIT -- Detroit Lions running back Justin Jackson has retired from the NFL, abruptly ending his career after five seasons in the league.

The Lions announced Jackson's retirement Thursday, one day before their preseason opener, and signed veteran running back Benny Snell Jr.

Jackson, 27, was expected to compete for a reserve spot on the roster behind veteran newcomer David Montgomery and rookie Jahmyr Gibbs.

Jackson played in 16 games for the Lions last season after spending his first four years with the Los Angeles Chargers. He rushed for 170 yards and scored two touchdowns last season.

"I'd say for us it's hard because he was having a really good camp," Lions coach Dan Campbell said of Jackson's decision on Friday. "It was good to get him back and he brought body to us and at the end of the day, he's in a good place and he just felt like, 'This is where my life is going right now. I feel like it's time for me to move on.' And there was no ill will. I think he came to the crossroads with, 'Hey, this is what I feel is right,' and I respect that. I wish him the best. If I can help in any way, I will. We're gonna miss him, but he's been a pro. He was having a heck of a camp."

Jackson was a seventh-round draft selection out of Northwestern and appeared in 59 career games, including seven starts, with the Lions and Chargers. He rushed for 1,210 yards and five touchdowns.

Snell, 25, played the past four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and appeared in 17 games in 2022, rushing for 90 yards and a touchdown.