Backus attended Norcross High School (Norcross, Georgia), and was a standout in football and baseball. He spent his freshman year at Marist School in Dunwoody before returning to Norcross, where he played his middle school years. In football, as a senior, he was a USA Today All-America selection, and was chosen by the Gwinnett Touchdown Club as the Gwinnett Touchdown Club's Lineman of the Year.
In July 2001, Jeff Backus signed a $7 million 5-year contract with the Lions, including a $3.2 million signing bonus. On July 2006, Jeff Backus signed a $40 million 6-year contract with the Lions. On November 22, 2012, Backus' streak of starting and playing in 186 consecutive games ended due to injury. On March 14, 2013, Backus retired.