New Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell gave impromptu speeches at an impassioned, emotional, intense and sometimes hilarious hour-long press conference to greet tourists, referring to Big Lebowski as he introduced himself to his new city and team.
If there were questions about the kind of passion Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp and team president Rod Wood were looking for in their next head coach, they were clear from the moment Campbell approached the microphone to the moment he left it.
Campbell gave a 19-minute opening speech, answering a number of topics straightforwardly and saying exactly what kind of team he wants – a team that reflects the city he once played for.
This place has been kicked out. He was defeated. He’s bruised. And I can sit here and talk to you all day, Campbell said Thursday. I can give it to you: We’re gonna win this weekend. None of that matters, and you don’t want to hear it anyway. You’ve heard enough… Excuse my language.
Here’s what I know. This team is going to take the identity of this city, and this city was down and found a way to get back up. You found a way to overcome adversity, didn’t you? So, if this team builds, we kick your ass, right? And if you fight back, we’ll laugh at you. And if you drop us, we’ll get up and bite our kneecaps on the way up. Did you get him? We get up and it takes two more shots to take us down. And on the way up we take your second patella and stand up, and it takes three strokes to get us down. And when we do, we’ll get another piece of you.
Soon we will be the last. That would be the mentality.
Campbell’s message about the passion with which he wants to play and coach his team was clear. He admitted that part of what he traded on Thursday was a yard of potential free agents to come to Detroit.
It was also the first time Campbell’s new players had heard him speak, so he wanted the message to reach them.
Campbell also showed his sense of humor, starting with a joke he landed in Detroit by telling his agent Rick Smith that he thought he was dating Iowa State coach and sexy NFL coach Matt Campbell.
And Campbell recognized his resemblance to the character of The Dude, played by Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski, and said he’d heard the comparison before, but the hair wasn’t what it used to be.
The Lions apparently referenced Big Lebowski by identifying Campbell as the head coach/boy on the nameplate hanging outside his office.
There is a new nameplate in front of the new Lions HC Dan Campbell – Dude office. @Lions. pic.twitter.com/y6xKVy58FB
– Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 21, 2021
Campbell said he would change into a team outfit after the press conference and go to work, which he did shortly thereafter. A source told ESPN’s Adam Schoetfer that Campbell and the Lions have hired New Orleans assistant Aaron Glenn as Detroit’s new defensive coordinator.
At a press conference, Campbell named Glenn as the candidate he hoped would join him in Detroit.
It’s no secret that I told Aaron Glenn about the defense coordinator, Campbell said. I was with him [in New Orleans]. It’s definitely someone I’m interested in. But I’m working on it.
It’s a combination of things that Ford sold to Hamp and Wood. In their search, Lions looked for four main criteria, according to Wood: A leader of men, someone who commands the room and the attention of the entire team; a temperament to deal with the squeak of an NFL season, losses, injuries and outside distractions; a positive voice for the entire organization to the media, the league, colleges, staff and our fans; and the ability to bring a great staff together.
We’re gonna beat you up, aren’t we? And if you fight back, we’ll laugh at you. And if you drop us, we’ll get up and bite our kneecaps on the way up. We get up and it takes two more shots to take us down. And on the way up we take your second patella and stand up, and it takes three strokes to get us down. And when we do, we’ll get another piece of you. Soon we will be the last.
Dan Campbell, Lions Coach
Ford Hamp said Campbell had sent a book on his coaching philosophy for the first interview, and I literally read his statement on culture and leadership, and it was like he was reading our minds.
We need to bring hope back to this city, Campbell said. I’m ready for anything. Look, I think I’m a big, smart man, and many of you will think I’m a crank, but I think in a way you can make something happen.
If you’re really positive, I think positive things can happen to you and the people around you, and they can feel your energy.
The former NFL linebacker knows what he’s getting into with the Lions. He played three seasons in Detroit, including being a part of the 2008 team that went 0-16 – though he admitted on Thursday that he was injured most of the year and in rehab in Texas, so he wasn’t there for the day-to-day.
But Campbell, 44, was a player, he was an assistant and in 2015 he was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.
Campbell has also spent the last half decade coaching Sean Payton at the Saints, a man and an organization he has often mentioned and discussed with great emotion in his presentations. So he understands what he believes and how he believes it.
I think the football team can do something cool here. But that’s what I think, man, Campbell said. I’m not trying to sell you something that’s been sold to you so many times…. Believe me, I understand. And I wouldn’t want any of you to get on the train and say I’m happy, I’ve had it 100%.
I didn’t expect this of you. But I will do everything in my power to beat you and make sure our team beats you. In the end, I know that only wins and losses count. But when I say I want our team to own this town, I mean it.
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