Dan Campbell's classy gesture to reporter shows why players respond to him

If you needed more evidence of who Dan Campbell is as a man and a coach, he offered some on Wednesday in an exchange with a reporter.

Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK
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During the NFL season, or the season in any sport, as coaches, players, writers and reporters do their jobs on a daily basis, sometimes the human element gets lost in the shuffle. If we know anything about Lions head coach Dan Campbell, it's that he's refreshingly human and not the robot some NFL head coaches can be when answering questions from the media.

Campbell naturally got a question about Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson during his press conference on Wednesday, and he answered it as a football coach would in terms of the challenge the former league MVP presents as a dual threat.

"He’s extremely dangerous as always. That’s not changing right now, so that focal point will always start with him, especially defensively,”

But then, after a short pause, Campbell added something to close out his response.

"My heart goes out to you, man. God bless you.”

The question came from reporter Bernie Smilovitz, who recently lost his wife. Campbell not only knew that, but he made sure to acknowledge it publicly when he had the chance. Not as pity on Smilovitz, but as a sheer classy gesture.

At roughly the 12-minute mark in the video below, you can see the end of Campbell's response to the question about Jackson and his comment to Smilovitz.

Dan Campbell's gesture to reporter shows perfectly why players respond to him

From his introductory press conference upon being hired by the Lions, all the way to now in postgame locker room speeches, Campbell has been a purveyor of memorable quotes. His comment to Smilovitz will be memorable, for the gesture more than the words.

The reaction to Campbell's gesture toward Smilovitz has been what you'd expect, as a rare moment taken by a coach.


It's abundantly clear Lions' players believe in Campbell (and have from the start), and he reaches them on a different level. Being a former player surely helps, but showing a human side doesn't hurt. We know nothing about Campbell is an act, and he showed it again in a unique moment during his press conference on Wednesday.

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