Dan Campbell wants a pet lion for the Lions

Uh, no, Dan Campbell, you don’t get to have a pet lion.
Uh, no, Dan Campbell, you don’t get to have a pet lion.
Image: Getty Images

Dan Campbell’s wild and unscripted introductory press conference is starting to make some sense now.

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In his opening remarks, the newly minted head coach pontificated about the Lions desire to “get up” like the city of Detroit, and “overcome adversity” using some interesting metaphors.

“When you knock us down, we’re going to get up,” he told reporters. The speech probably should’ve stopped there but it didn’t.

“On the way up,” he continued, “we are going to bite a kneecap off, alright? And we are going to stand up and then it’s going to take two more shots to knock us down, alight? 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 going to take another hunk out of you.”

“Before long, we’re going to be the last one standing,” he concluded.

Well, no one would be left standing if you had a pet lion on the sidelines — an idea Campbell seems to have pitched to Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp.

“I’ll tell you what I would really want to do, just in general, and I’ve talked to Sheila about this, and I don’t think we’re going to be able to do it. But I would literally love to just have a pet lion,” the head coach told Pardon My Take. “Just a legit pet lion on a chain, a big ass chain, and he really is my pet. We just walk around the building, we go out to practice, we’re at seven-on-seven, we’re behind the kicker when he’s kicking.”

So who’s taking a hunk out of who? If it’s Campbell’s pet, he knows he’ll probably be the first to go.

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“The problem, I don’t know if PETA’s going to allow that,” the wannabe lion whisperer quipped.
“Even though we would take great care of it. It would be fed well, it would be petted, it would be manicured. I might end up losing an arm because of it, but that would be even better because it would validate what, this is a freaking, this is a creature now. This is an animal. This thing, this is from the wild.”

With Campbell’s meandering platitudes of the past few months I wonder if he’s from the wild, too.

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There are a handful of live animal mascots already in the NFL. Thunder, a white horse, leads the Broncos out of the tunnel in Denver. Warpaint and Susie, two brown and white horses, are a part of pregame festivities at Arrowhead Stadium. Rise and Conquer, two ravens from the Maryland zoo, spend a few fall Sundays at the stadium. And Swagger Jr. is the only K9 allowed in the dawg pound.

But it’s a good thing we don’t have actual Bengals in Cincinnati, Bears in Chicago, or Lions in Detroit. I think we’d all prefer the “bite off their kneecaps” metaphor to the real thing.