Dan Campbell: "I'm an a**hole" for cutting Muhlbach on his birthday


For Dan Campbell and the Lions, cutting longtime long-snapper Don Muhlbach this week was a business move that stung. Made even worse for Campbell by the fact that it had to happen on his former teammate's 40th birthday.

“No doubt," Campbell said Thursday. "There is no way to sugar coat that. I’m an a**hole. That’s about the best way to put it and I hate it."

Campbell, who delivered the news to Muhlbach and his family during a long conversation at the team facility on Tuesday, said there was "no way around it, really," considering the Lions had to clear roster space for defensive tackle Nick Williams who was coming off COVID/reserve, newly-signed LB Rashod Perry and newly-signed QB Jordan Ta’amu.

"I mean, 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," Campbell said. "Unfortunately, it has to be on his birthday and it stinks.”

Muhlbach, teammates with Campbell in Detroit from 2006-08, ranks second in franchise history for the Lions in seasons played (17) and games played (260). He was something of a cult hero toward the end of his career, which is likely now over. It's the one aspect of being a head coach that Campbell doesn't enjoy.

"When you have to start letting players go that have just given their heart and soul to everything, that’s hard," he said. "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 make these decisions, it’s tough. It’s real tough, because I appreciate them."