“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.”
Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell said to the media on Thursday about having to release the team’s 17-year veteran long snapper Don Muhlbach on his 40th birthday.
“There was no way around it, really,” Campbell said. “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.”
While Campbell takes full responsibility publically, decisions like this aren’t made in a vacuum, and the organization's collaborative approach to roster building points to this being a multi-person decision, especially considering the roster fluctuation that followed.
“There were a number of moves like with Nick (Williams) that was coming down the wire to get him back from COVID/reserve and (signing) the linebacker (Rashod Berry) and then the quarterback (Jordan Ta’amu) because of where we were (with quarterback injuries),” Campbell elaborated. “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’s openness at his press conferences has been breath of fresh air in Detroit and his raw emotion comes through when people are impacted by decisions he had a hand in making.
“For me, I can take things personal at times if I’m being honest with you,” Campbell continued. “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 got to make these decisions, it’s tough, it’s real tough because I appreciate them, but it is what it is.”
While Campbell sympathizes with his player's situations, he also appears to have a clear understanding of his role in building a roster and this move is an indication that he is willing to make the tough decisions—despite them being emotionally challenging—for the betterment of the organization. That’s leadership, folks.