The Detroit Lions released longtime long snapper Don Muhlbach on his 40th birthday Thursday and prompted a blunt reaction from coach Dan Campbell when he was asked about it after practice.
Muhlbach, who had been with the Lions since 2004 and had played a majority of the time on special teams, is a two-time Pro Bowler. But Campbell explained the team needed to clear up some space on the roster with players coming back.
“No doubt,” Campbell said when asked if it was tough to cut Muhlbach. “There is no way to sugarcoat that. I’m an a–hole. That’s about the best way to put it and I hate it. No, it is, but there was no way around it, really. Yeah, you could say there is, but ultimately, that falls on me. It’s my fault and Don’s a hell of a dude. It sucks, but it is what it is.
“There were a number of moves like with Nick (Williams) that was coming down the wire to get him back from COVID/Reserve and the linebacker (Rashod Berry) and then the quarterback (Jordan Ta’amu) because of where we were at there. Once again, it’s putting a strain and you’re looking for that spot. Unfortunately, it has to be on his birthday, and it stinks.”
Campbell is in his first season with the Lions. He said the cutting process has been a bit tough for him.
“Look, I was fortunate to get – I did get 12 weeks out in Miami,” he said. “So, I had already had a bit of a taste of it and really during the hardest time of the year, which was the season. So, I kind of knew a little bit of what I was walking into. Now, what I didn’t ever have to worry about necessarily was what’s coming down the wire and what had to transpire a couple of days ago, when you have to start letting players go that have just given their heart and soul to everything. That’s hard.
“For me, I can take things personal at times if I’m being honest with you. It does, it digs on me a little bit and I hate it because I was in that locker room and I played and I know when you see these guys who literally do give everything they have and you have to let them go or you’ve got to make these decisions, it’s tough. It’s real tough because I appreciate them, but it is what it is.”