Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell has said some wild things since he was hired in 2021. From his caffeine consumption to the famous “bite kneecaps” line, Campbell has always said whatever comes to his mind — even in front of the media.
But perhaps his craziest idea occurred soon after he joined the Lions when he wanted to get a pet lion to live at the team’s practice facility. He said on the “Pardon My Take” podcast that in 2021 he wanted “a legit pet lion on a chain, a big ass chain” whom he could walk around with at practice.
Well, Campbell apparently wasn’t kidding when he said he asked Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp for it. And while Campbell said she OK’d the ask, the NFL shut it down.
“Sheila, she had no problem with it, but the league apparently frowns on those types of things,” Campbell said on a recent “Pardon My Take” episode. “I’m not gonna point out [NFL commissioner] Roger [Goodell] on this, I’m just gonna say that the league frowns on that, let’s just say that.”
Live animal mascots aren’t uncommon in the NFL. The Baltimore Ravens have two, the Denver Broncos have an Arabian horse, the Seattle Seahawks have a hawk and the Cleveland Browns have a bull mastiff. The Kansas City Chiefs used to have a pinto horse and the Miami Dolphins used to have a live dolphin.
But none of those animals offers the same size and terror as a live lion would. Sadly, Campbell will have to keep dreaming.