On Thursday morning, Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell moved up his press conference a day to address the news that the team is seeking to trade linebacker Jamie Collins. His press conference spanned several topics, including why the team is making the move, Collins’ conduct during the process, and the likelihood a trade gets done (and when).
Rather than give you bits and pieces of the press conference, here’s a full transcript of the session.
“I’ll start with this, Jamie Collins will not be in the building as we are exploring a trade. Out of respect for him, you know, he’s played a long time in this league, appreciate him in the offseason getting his weight down, was doing what we asked him to do. His attitude has been great. It has nothing to do with any of that. Just felt like it was time for a reduced role, and I have too much respect for him to do that. We felt like it was time for (Derrick) Barnes and (Jalen) Reeves-Maybin to play more. So this is really why we’re making the decision that we’re making. I wish him the best of luck. We’ll work through this and it’s time for Barnes and Reeves to go.”
Has Collins played his last down for the Lions?
“We’ll see where it goes. There again, we’re just letting this thing play out right now. We’ve got suitors right now. Certainly, we’re hoping to have this done sooner than later. We’re not necessarily putting a timetable on it, either. We’ve had open communication with Jamie. We sat down and told him straight up and he’s been good. He understands. “
Why not keep Collins and bring him off the bench?
“I think when you’re doing that, it’s 8-10 reps, and when you do that and you’re asking Barnes and JRM to play a lot more, who are also going to have to play special teams, you’re putting that extra burden on those guys. Because Jamie doesn’t play special teams. We just felt like, for him and for us, it was the best thing to do. “
Was this a conclusion you came to in the last couple days or something you’ve been thinking about for a while?
“We’ve been through two games now and you just make your assessment and your judgment after two games. That’s where we’re at, you know? There again, we felt like it was if you’re going to grow and try to get better as a team, as a unit, everything, you better do it now. There again, I think this is best for Jamie, as well. He gets a chance to go somewhere and do what he does. We’re just in a different place. “
Was this because you’ve seen rapid development in Barnes?
“Look, Barnes, you saw it in the preseason and even the limited snaps that he got (against) San Francisco, you can see his aggressive style. He plays lights out, he can run. Look, he’s going to have some growing pains. Things are going to come up, but he can make up for a lot with his effort, which he’s done. There again, Reeves is going to play, too, and he’s going to help us on defense, as well. We just felt like this is where we needed to go.”
Did you have a problem with Collins’ effort?
“I’ll be honest, I don’t want you to think I’m avoiding this, but I don’t want to do that. I’ve got too much respect for him, and he gave what he has, and there again, we felt like it was time to move on.”
Why are you taking trade talks public?
“Because you guys are already going to know. It’s like, ‘Where’s Jamie?’ At some point, it’s like what are we doing? It’s like you can only hide so long. And I’m kinda—as much as we can be—we want to be as transparent as we can, particularly with the player. It is what it is. If we feel like this is where we need to go and it’s best for the player and it’s best for us, why are we messing around?”
Did you talk to veterans on the Lions before making this public?
“Yeah, I talked to the captains and leadership is who I talked to yesterday after I talked to Jamie. After Brad (Holmes) and I, both talked to him. I talked to the leaders and captains and just explained it to them.
“And you don’t expect them to totally agree, but they just need to know where I was coming from and nothing against Jamie. There is still a business side to it, and we wish him well. And like I said, his attitude is great. It’s nothing like that.”
Do players prefer this kind of openness?
“I know I did when I played. I would want to know. You don’t want to hide from it, you don’t want to sugarcoat it. You just tell it like it is because you can respect that. You may not like it, but you’ll always respect it.”
What will you do if no deal gets done?
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, but I think we’ll have a suitor.”
Are you expecting bigger roles for Anthony Pittman and Tavante Beckett (on special teams)?
“We’re thinking about Beckett. We also signed Josh Woods. We got him from the practice squad of Chicago. So there’s a chance he comes in and helps us on special teams right now. He also provides depth at linebacker. We’re looking at him. We’re looking at (Brock) Wright as a tight end, (Shane) Zylstra as a tight end for body types that can help us on special teams. Because that’s now where we need the help, is to take a little bit off of Reeves and Barnes on special teams, because they’re still going to have to do that for us.
Reeves-Maybin is the best player on ST, how do you manage his snaps on defense/ST?
“It’s tough. I think you’re probably going to split the load a little bit between Barnes and Reeves so that you get the most out of both of them as it pertains to both sides of it. As of right now, that’s what we’re kind of thinking, because inevitably it does come up. Reeves—and I thought he played outstanding the other night on special teams. Well, the more reps you get on defense, inevitably sometimes it starts to slip on special teams and that is a fear. It’s naturally what happens, but I know it won’t be for lack of effort with him or either one of them. I know they’ll put their best foot forward, but that’s why we want to try and bring another body in here to help. And if we can take them off of the team, that’s good.”
Will Reeves-Maybin and Barnes have separate packages?
“Could be, yeah. Yeah. We got packages for both, and we got packages where they’re in there together.”
You can watch the full Campbell presser below: