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Long snapper Don Muhlbach is about to make more Detroit Lions history

ALLEN PARK — When was the last time you thought about Don Muhlbach? It’s been a while, right?

And that’s the way it’s supposed to be for long snappers. If you’re thinking about them, or God forbid hearing about them, something’s probably already gone terribly wrong.

But Don Muhlbach ain’t your ordinary long snapper.

He is the Detroit Lions’ longest-tenured player, and the last holdover from the Matt Millen era. And when Detroit hosts Seattle on Sunday, he’ll add to his unique legacy by playing in his 219th game for the franchise.

That will match former center Dominic Raiola for the second-most games in team history. Only former kicker Jason Hanson (327) has played in more.

“Really?” Muhlbach said. “I had no idea.”

That’s OK, most don’t. Because he’s a long snapper. You’re not supposed to hear about long snappers, remember? And you haven’t heard anything about Muhlbach this year because he continues to do his job at such a high level.

Muhlbach, a superstitious bird, knocked on the wall of his locker at the thought of that.

“It’s been good,” Muhlbach said. “Me and Sam (Martin) and (Matt) Prater, just doing our thing, you know? When they need us, they call us over. But it’s lots of different guys this year. Just trying to figure out all the new people — there’s a not of new pieces this year — but we’re working hard to make it so no one notices.”

There are a lot of new pieces this year, and it has led to some breakdowns on the normally reliable coverage teams. They’re allowing a league-worst 21.5 yards per punt return, plus another 26.1 yards per kick return. That’s seventh worst.

But the snapping hasn’t been the issue. 

Muhlbach, 37, still hasn’t biffed a snap since he was a rookie in 2004. He’s missed only one game since 2005, and none at all since 2009. And even when Bob Quinn drafted a replacement long snapper after taking over as general manager in 2016, Muhlbach turned in a flawless training camp to hold onto the job.

Death. Taxes. Don Freaking Muhlbach.

“But hey, (Jason) Hanson is 300-something,” Muhlbach said. “So it doesn’t really matter. I don’t think I’m going to stay here that long — would be cool if I did, though.”

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