Lions ink long snapper Don Muhlbach to a one-year contract

Posted Feb 27, 2014

Muhlbach, who earned a Pro Bowl bid in 2012, has been one of the NFL's best long snappers for more than a decade

Some Lions fans probably couldn't point out Detroit Lions long snapper Don Muhlbach if they were asked to identify him at their local grocery store.

In case you didn't know, that's not a bad thing.

The only time the long snapper is usually noticed on the football field is when he makes a mistake.

For Muhlbach, that's such a rare occasion, most fans hardly even notice him on Sunday.

The Lions, and special teams coordinator John Bonamego, certainly don't take him for granted, however. That's why the team re-signed the 10-year veteran to a new one-year contract worth around $1 million.

"I'm thrilled to have 'Mule' back," Bonamego said. "He's a great pro and very, very good at what he does. He has been a good calming influence for (rookie punter) Sam (Martin) this year.

Muhlbach was instrumental in helping Martin, who finished in the Top-10 in the NFL in gross punting average (sixth; 47.2) and net punting average (10th; 40.4). Martin became the first punter in Lions history to finish the season with a 40-plus net punting average.

"With Sam going into his second year it was also important to us to have that veteran leadership within that core group of specialists," Bonamego said. "Because whoever our kicker ends up being is more than likely going to be a younger guy who's less experienced.

"You can't fabricate the experience, and in our league, that means something."

Muhlbach has spent his entire 10-year career with the Lions and earned Pro Bowl recognition in 2012.

Having played in 148 career games, he is the only Lions specialist who did not kick, punt or return to play special teams in the Pro Bowl.

He's been referenced in the past as the "Nolan Ryan of long snappers" for the way he rifles the ball back to the holder and punter with both speed and precision.

Muhlbach is one of the best at what he does and he'll work to go just as unnoticed in 2014.