Only Jason Hanson has played in more NFL games in Detroit Lions history than Don Muhlbach.
For 17 years Muhlbach has been a rock snapping the football, but his historic 17-year NFL career with Detroit has come to end. Lions head coach Dan Campbell announced Muhlbach's release to open his Tuesday press conference.
"Look, I've got the utmost respect for Don," Campbell said. "I played with Don. Seventeen seasons and 260 games, 37th overall all-time games played in this league. He was a pro and even better person. He meant a lot to this organization and always will. He's always represented it well and is an outstanding teammate. I hate it, man. This is the hardest time (trimming the roster), especially with a player like him."
Muhlbach, who earned his nickname as the Nolan Ryan of long snappers for the speed in which he could rifle the ball back to the holder and punter, played all 260 career games with Detroit, the eighth-most games an NFL player has played for a single team in league history.
He entered the top 50 most games played in NFL history Week 4 vs. New Orleans last season. He finishes his career currently tied for the 37th most games played in NFL history (260).
"Don Muhlbach will go down as one of the all-time Detroit Lions greats," Lions principal owner Sheila Ford Hamp said in a statement. "Since joining our team as a free agent in 2004, to earning the respect of his teammates as a team captain, he has represented our organization with class, consistency and true sportsmanship. His 260 career games played, the second-most in team history behind only Jason Hanson, illustrate the dedication to his craft he has displayed over the course of his 17 seasons. Only 36 players in the history of the National Football League have played in more games than Don, and we are proud to call him a Lion for life.
"Away from the field, Don has been the consummate leader. Often assisting behind the scenes with the planning and execution of team philanthropic initiatives, Don's passion for making a difference in our city has been evident since the day he set foot in Detroit. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of his family, and we wish him, his wife, Alix, and their three children, Addison, Jack and Avery, the very best in the future. We are so thankful for everything Don has given to our organization."
View photos from long snapper Don Muhlbach's 17 seasons in Detroit.
Muhlbach first signed with the Lions in 2004, and has gone on to become only the second player (Hanson) in team history to appear in 16 seasons for the club.
He has snapped for 15 game-winning field goals and five game-winning extra points in his career. In his 16 years snapping for punts, only one of those has been blocked.
By playing all 16 games in 2019, Muhlbach appeared in every game from the 2010s decade. He became the first player in franchise history to appear in all 160 games in any given decade.
The long snapper duties now look to be in Scott Daly's hands, who spent an offseason with Dallas in 2018 and also played in the AAF and XFL before signing with Detroit in May.