Lions long snapper Don Muhlbach received a rocking chair from teammates Tuesday on his 40th birthday. He also received a pink slip.
Lions coach Dan Campbell, who preceded Muhlbach by a couple of years at Texas A&M but was a teammate in Detroit from 2006-08, announced the bad news at his press conference.
“Dude’s a pro,” Campbell said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “He’s an even better person. . . . I hate it, man. This is the hardest time.”
Muhlbach was one of the NFL’s longest tenured players, having joined the Lions in 2004. Tom Brady is the only player in his 40s currently active in the NFL.
Muhlbach played 260 games in his career, missing only one game since the start of the 2006 season. It is the eighth-most games in NFL history for a player with a single team.
He snapped for 15 game-winning field goals and five-game winning extra points, though he played only three playoff games. Muhlbach twice made the Pro Bowl.
Campbell called it “time” for Muhlbach, who may have played his final NFL game.
“As he’s done his whole career, he handled it like a pro,” Campbell said, via Chris Burke of TheAthletic.com. “He appreciated that we talked to him, brought him out there, sat with him for a while. . . . We wanted to make it as good as you could under the circumstances.”