After 17 years of service to his team Lions long snapper Don Muhlbach deserved better treatment, especially on his 40th birthday.

The Detroit Lions recently signed a free agent long snapper (this is the guy who hikes the ball to the punter and to the holder on field goals), so they had to let the veteran Muhlback go.

That's totally understandable, and it happens in big league football.

But to let him go on his birthday, and to do it unceremoniously through a brief blurb to the press left a lot of fans cheesed off.

You've probably never heard of Muhlbach, and that's a good thing. It meant he was doing his job well. If you hear the long snapper's name, it usually means he screwed up.

The two time Pro Bowler snapped the ball for 15 game winning field goals. He had played in 260 games with the team, second only to former kicker Jason Hanson's 327 games.

So to be dumped on his 40th birthday, and without some kind words going out the door, is kind of a jerk move.

Head Coach Dan Campbell acknowledged as much this week.

"There's no way to sugarcoat that. I'm an a------, so that's about the best way to put it," Campbell said to the the press corps.

Muhlbach knew the writing was on the wall when he was forced to compete for his job with Scott Daly, who was signed before training camp. But still, how about a little thank you and a pat on the back for a job well done?

"There's no way around (the business side of the NFL) really," Campbell said. "Yeah, you can say there is, but ultimately that falls on me, it's my fault. And Don's a hell of a dude. That sucks, but it is what it is."

"Look, I’ve got the utmost respect for Don,” Campbell finally admitted during his press conference. “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.”

Wait, was that a compliment? It's about time.

 

Don Muhlbach Through The Years

Getty Images

Don Muhlbach #48 of the Detroit Lions attempts to tackle Darius Reynaud #15 of the New York Giants during a punt return in the second quarter at New Meadowlands Stadium on October 17, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

NFL via Getty Images

Don Muhlbach of the Detroit Lions poses for his 2005 NFL headshot at photo day in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Getty Images)

Getty Images

Reggie Bush #25 of the New Orleans Saints fumbles the ball as he is tackled by Don Muhlbach #48 of the Detroit Lions at the Louisiana Superdome on September 13, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Getty Images

De'Anthony Thomas #13 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks to get away from Don Muhlbach #48 of Detroit Lions during the NFL matchat Wembley Stadium on November 01, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Getty Images

In this handout image provided by the NFL, Don Muhlbach of the Detroit Lions poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)

Getty Images

Don Muhlbach #48 of the Detroit Lions participates in warmups prior to a game against the Houston Texans at Ford Field on November 26, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images