Lions HC Dan Campbell on cutting Don Muhlbach on his birthday: 'That sucks, but it is what it is'
The NFL is a cold business, and although the outdoor temperatures at training camps would say otherwise, August is its coldest when it comes to roster cuts.
Longtime Detroit Lions long snapper Don Muhlbach learned that the hard way when the NFL’s second-oldest player was let go Tuesday on his 40th birthday.
But at least Lions coach Dan Campbell recognizes it.
“There’s no way to sugarcoat that. I’m an a——, so that’s about the best way to put it,” Campbell said, per the Detroit Free Press.
Muhlbach was approaching his 18th season in the NFL having played 260 career games, all with the Lions, ranking second in franchise history. He earned the second of his two Pro Bowl nods in 2018, but the reality is that this likely didn’t come as a complete shock to Muhlbach.
Competing with a long snapper 12 years his junior in Scott Daly, Muhlbach had to have been at least pondering the end of his NFL career. And, of course, no position in football is more expendable from a salary cap standpoint than the long snapper, evidenced by the fact that Muhlbach has been signing one-year contracts for the minimum salary since 2013.
“There’s no way around (the business side of the NFL) really,” Campbell said. “Yeah, you can say there is, but ultimately that falls on me, it’s my fault. And Don’s a hell of a dude. That sucks, but it is what it is.”
Campbell’s reality was about roster spots, and rules that govern how many of them teams can have as they whittle down their numbers toward the beginning of the season. Teams had until 4 p.m. ET Tuesday to trim rosters to 85 players.
“There was a number of moves like with Nick (Williams) that was coming down the wire, to get him back from COVID reserve and the linebacker and then (signing) the quarterback (Jordan Ta’amu) because of where we were at there and it just, once again, it’s putting a strain,” Campbell said. “You’re looking for that (roster) spot and unfortunately it has to be on his birthday and it stinks.”
Yes, it does.
But a 17-year NFL career doesn’t.
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