Dan Campbell wanted to have a real lion on the Lions' sideline, but the NFL got in the way

Dan Campbell wanted to have a real lion on the Lions' sideline, but the NFL naturally frowned upon it.
Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

In many senses, Dan Campbell is the antithesis of what the general consensus of what NFL head coach is or "supposed to be." He will not go into Bill Belichick mode with monotone non-answers, and he'll often wear his emotions on his sleeve.

At times there is nuance to read into Campbell's words, when he does venture into anything like coach-speak, as he can't totally hide how he feels. See comments about D'Andre Swift at the NFL Combine in March, as a precursor for Swift being traded.

Campbell had an entertaining recent appearance on Barstool Sports' "Pardon My Take" podcast.

On the topic of having a live lion on the sideline.....

The NFL naturally shut down Dan Campbell wanting to have a lion on the Lions' sideline

"Sheila, she had no problem with it, but the league apparently frowns on those types of things", Campbell said.

Campbell would not point the finger at commissioner Roger Goodell for the league putting the kibosh on the Lions having a lion on the sideline.

"I’m not gonna point out Roger on this, I’m just gonna say the league frowns on that, let’s just say that,” said Campbell.

So owner Sheila Ford-Hamp was good with having a live lion on the Lions' sideline. But naturally, the NFL shut it down.

Live animal mascots are prevalent in college football, and a few NFL teams have them too. None are as potentially dangerous as a lion though, hence why the league frowns on it.

Thus is not the first time the topic of the Lions having a live lion around has surfaced. A few months after he was hired, in another appearance on "Pardon My Take", Campbell said he'd like to have a pet lion on hand to liven up practice.

"I don’t think we’re going to be able to do it, but I would love to literally just have a pet lion, Just a legit pet lion on a chain, a big ass chain, and he really is my pet. We just walk around the building, we go out to practice, we’re at 7-on-7, we’re behind the kicker when he’s kicking."

Dan Campbell, in May of 2021

This entire topic comes off highly tongue-in-cheek. But on the other hand, would it really surprise anyone if Campbell actually wanted to have a live lion on the sideline for a game? But Roary, the Lions' mascot, has plenty of job security.

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