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Lions head coach Dan Campbell comes across as a tough guy. A longtime NFL tight end known for his willingness to mix it up on the field, Campbell’s scrappy persona was on full display in his epic introductory press conference.
But it’s not some false swagger or bravado. A story from Campbell’s playing days with the Dallas Cowboys is proof that Campbell is an amazing tough guy. He didn’t even flinch when his appendix burst on a Cowboys’ team flight back in 2005.
From a 2015 feature at NFL.com, the story is truly incredible.
On that quiet flight out of Texas, Campbell’s appendix exploded, an extremely painful and potentially life-threatening kick to the gut that would cause most men to double over onto the beverage cart. Campbell didn’t make a sound. No one had a clue. He returned to practice in about a week and won the Ed Block Courage award that season.
Campbell was so anxious to get back to playing after his emergency surgery that the Cowboys had to forcibly keep him off the field while his stitches healed.
It might not have anything to do with Campbell’s ability to coach the Lions, but it’s a testament that the new head coach practices what he preaches about being tougher and hungrier than anyone else.