'We're going to bite a kneecap off': Lions coach Dan Campbell offers unhinged quote on team's new era

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Chris Cwik
·2 min read
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New Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell may want to brush up on the NFL’s rules. Because after Campbell’s introductory news conference Thursday, it sounds like at least one Lions player is going to get ejected after every single play next season.

Campbell — who was hired by the Lions on Wednesday —discussed how he expects the team to play under his guidance. It sounds ... uh ... extremely violent.

At one point in his speech, Campbell said the Lions would “bite a kneecap off.”

Campbell’s full quote read:

“So, this team is going to be built on, we’re going to kick you in the teeth. And when you punch us back, we’re going to smile at you. And when you knock us down, we’re going to get up. And on the way up, we’re going to bite a kneecap off. And we’re going to stand up and then it’s going to take two more shots to knock us down. And on the way up, we’re going to take your other kneecap. And we’re going to get up and then it’s going to take three shots to get us down. And when we do, we’re gonna take another hunk out of you. Before long, we’re going to be the last one standing. That’s going to be the mentality.”

That’s far too many mentions of cannibalism. One would think taking “another hunk out of” another player would result in an ejection.

Dan Campbell has head coaching experience with Dolphins

Campbell’s “kick you in the teeth” philosophy likely comes from his time as a player. Campbell spent 10 seasons in the NFL as a tight end. He played for the New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys and Lions as a player.

Following his playing career, Campbell joined the Miami Dolphins as a coaching intern. He worked his way up through the coaching ranks, and was picked as the team’s interim coach when Joe Philbin was fired in 2015. Campbell went 5-7 during that stint. The team hired Adam Gase that offseason.

With Gase running things in Miami, Campbell went to the New Orleans Saints. He served as an assistant head coach and tight end coach with the Saints over the past five seasons.

In Detroit, Campbell will be tasked with turning around a Lions team that looked lost under former coach Matt Patricia. The Lions went just 13-29-1 in three seasons under Patricia, who was fired in November.

After finishing the 2020 season 5-11, the Lions hold the No. 7 pick in the 2021 NFL draft. It’s unclear how any player projected to go in the top-10 feels about eating an opponent.

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