| The Detroit News
Detroit Lions long snapper Don Muhlbach, with 14 appearances this season, climbed into the top 50 of the league’s all-time games played list. And while he insists he hasn’t sat down to think about what the future holds, the 39-year-old, 17-year veteran sure sounds like he feels like he can continue playing beyond this year.
“I’m probably a tad biased, but I think I’m doing pretty good,” Muhlbach said Wednesday. “I feel good. That’s the thing, from talking to other guys that — when you start not feeling great and it affects things. But I feel (good). It took a little longer this year, not having the offseason. I think I was a little rusty when we started. But I found my groove once we got going here, and I still think I can play in this league.”
But beyond how he feels, Muhlbach isn’t sure. He’s focused on the team’s two remaining games, then he’ll sit down with his family and consider his options. That conversation will likely involve whether or not playing in Detroit is the only possibility.
That’s not to say Muhlbach wants to go anywhere else. A Texas native, he loves the franchise and isn’t intimidated by the prospect of another rebuild, based on what the next general manager and coach envision.
“I mean, I’ve done it before, so maybe I can help with it?” Muhlbach said. “I don’t know. I do feel like I want to get this thing going in the right direction before they get rid of me, so I don’t know. All I know right now is my body feels pretty good, and, just, see what happens the next two weeks.”
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The last time the Lions made a switch at GM, Bob Quinn clearly didn’t realize what he had in Muhlbach. Quinn tried to immediately replace the veteran, drafting long snapper Jimmy Landes his first season at the helm.
Muhlbach easily fended off that challenger, but another contender gave him a far stiffer challenge this offseason. Steve Wirtel, an undrafted rookie free agent out of Iowa State, pushed Muhlbach and gained the veteran’s respect during training camp.
And Wirtel is still on the practice squad, giving the next general manager something to think about this offseason.
“Steve’s very good,” Muhlbach said. “I mean, good snapper, very athletic — way more athletic than me.”