Detroit Lions long snapper Don Muhlbach got a bummer of a birthday present Tuesday: his pink slip.
The club's longtime special teams player had been a 17-year fixture in Detroit, but Lions coach Dan Campbell released him Tuesday.
Muhlbach turned 40 on Tuesday.
"Don Muhlbach will go down as one of the all-time Detroit Lions greats. Since joining our team as a free agent in 2004, to earning the respect of his teammates as a team captain, he has represented our organization with class, consistency and true sportsmanship. His 260 career games played, the second-most in team history behind only Jason Hanson, illustrate the dedication to his craft he has displayed over the course of his 17 seasons. Only 36 players in the history of the National Football League have played in more games than Don, and we are proud to call him a Lion for life," Lions principal owner Sheila Ford Hamp said in a statement. "Away from the field, Don has been the consummate leader. Often assisting behind the scenes with the planning and execution of team philanthropic initiatives, Don's passion for making a difference in our city has been evident since the day he set foot in Detroit. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of his family, and we wish him, his wife, Alix, and their three children, Addison, Jack and Avery, the very best in the future. We are so thankful for everything Don has given to our organization."
Campbell called it a tough decision that he hated to make, per the Lions' Tim Twentyman, who noted that the Lions only had one punt blocked on a snap from Muhlbach in his 260 career games.
Barring a re-signing, Muhlbach will close his Lions career ranked No. 2 in franchise history in seasons played and games played, per the team, and eighth in NFL history for most games played with the same club. Muhlbach missed just one regular-season game since 2006 and earned Pro Bowl nods in 2012 and 2018. He made 26 career tackles, including a career-high six in 2009.
The Lions had re-signed him in March for what would've been an 18th season. Muhlbach's been signing one-year deals for the minimum salary since 2013, per the Detroit Free Press.