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Lions Poorly Time Release of Don Muhlbach

Not the birthday present long snapper Don Muhlbach was expecting from the Detroit Lions.
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Not the birthday present I would have wanted, or anyone else for that matter. 

It's the end of an era in Detroit. 

Veteran long snapper Don Muhlbach will officially be cut Wednesday, after 17 seasons with the Lions. 

Muhlbach joined the organization in 2004, and became the first player in franchise history to appear in all 160 games in a given decade (2010-19), since the regular season schedule expanded to 16 games in 1978. 

The two-time Pro Bowler served as the snapper on 15 game-winning field goals, as well as five game-winning extra points, over the course of 260 games with the Lions. 

The only player with more career games in Honolulu Blue is former NFL kicker Jason Hanson, who suited up for 327 contests in the Motor City. 

Lions head coach Dan Campbell announced the news on what was Muhlbach's 40th birthday Tuesday. 

"Look, I’ve got the utmost respect for Don,” Campbell said during his press conference Tuesday. “I played with Don. Seventeen seasons, 260 games, 37th overall in all-time games played in this league. Dude’s a pro. He’s an even better person. He meant a lot to this organization, always will.” 


Detroit parted ways with Muhlbach, as part of its roster-trimming efforts. Tuesday marked the deadline for NFL franchises to cut their rosters down from 90 to 85 players. 

"Don was outstanding. Of course, it was hard," Campbell added. "But, as he's done his whole career, anybody that knows him, he handled it like a pro. He appreciated that we talked to him, we brought him up there, we sat with him for a while because we wanted this to be the best way that we could, or at least make it as good as you could under the circumstances.

"Of course, he was disappointed. It's hard. It's all he's known. He's been a Detroit Lion for a long time. It's really part of him, so that's not easy. That's not easy to watch. I know it hurt. I know he wanted to talk to his wife and his family and kind of go from there."

In the grand scheme of things, moving on from Muhlbach isn't going to be detrimental to the Lions' 2021 roster. And, it was probably smart to give a younger long snapper like Daly -- only 27 years old -- a shot to prove his worth. Daly previously spent time in both the Alliance of American Football and the XFL. 

Yet, the optics of announcing the release of Muhlbach on his 40th birthday don't look great for the organization. 

The 80-man roster cutdown date is Tuesday, Aug. 24. Why not simply wait until then to cut ties with the longtime Lion? 

I know you can make the argument of why delay the inevitable, if you knew you were going to cut him during training camp anyways. 

However, there is something to be said about getting the timing right, and I don't think Campbell & Co. did with Muhlbach in this situation.