At 39 years old, Detroit Lions veteran long snapper Don Muhlbach has been a mainstay of the franchise for as long as anyone. In fact, it’s hard to remember life before Muhlbach. The man has been living on one-year contracts for the past decade, always playing good enough to warrant a re-signing, yet inching towards an age where retirement is inevitable.
Still, throughout it all, Muhlbach says he still believes he’s playing well, and, more importantly, he still physically feels pretty good.
“I’m probably a tad biased, but I think I’m doing pretty good,” Muhlbach said in a Zoom conference on Wednesday. “I feel good, that’s the thing. Talking to other guys, when you start not feeling great and it affects things—It took me a little longer this year, not having the offseason, I was a little rusty when we started, but I found my groove here once we got going. I still think I can play in this league.”
Muhlbach made it pretty clear that he hasn’t made a decision on his future yet, and his focus is on the final two games of this season. But even though he said he’s putting off that decision until 2021, he also really sounded like he had some unfinished business, even if he has to endure another rebuild with Detroit under a new general manager and head coach next year.
“I’ve done it before,” Muhlbach said. “So maybe I could help with (the rebuild). I do feel like I want to get this thing going in the right direction before they get rid of me.”
Of course, Muhlbach’s future in Detroit may no longer be up to him. This year, the Lions brought in rookie Steven Wirtel to challenge Muhlbach for the long snapper job. And although Muhlbach ended up winning out their training camp battle—in what Muhlbach called the closest competition since he’s been there—the Lions liked Wirtel enough to carry him on the practice squad all year.
“Good snapper,” Muhlbach said of Wirtel. “Very athletic. I mean, way more athletic than me.”
Ultimately, Muhlbach will have plenty of time to think it over this offseason, and that’s exactly what he’ll do.
“I do love it here. I just kind of want to talk to my family and talk to whoever is here, and see what the plans are. But I think it's really too early to make any of those calls right now.”