Don Muhlbach is likely one of the longest-tenured veterans in the NFL that you’ve never heard of.
Now in his 14th season with the Detroit Lions, and about to reach his 200th game on Sunday, Muhlbach is one of the most dependable players in the league at doing what he does. But his long career may have never come to fruition if not for a few chance circumstances of Muhlbach’s high school life.
As Kyle Meinke at MLive notes in his expansive profile of the long snapper, Muhlbach got his start snapping in high school because he needed a ride home.
With an August birthday, Muhlbach was one of the last kids in his class to get his license, and his ride home happened to be the quarterback and punter for his high school team. Since he had to spend most of his time during practice serving his duties as quarterback, much of his punting practice had to come after the rest of the team had finished up. And since Muhlbach wasn’t just going to sit around for the practice after the practice, he got to snapping.
From there, his talent became clear, and Muhlbach would later be able to at the team as a walk on at Texas A&M and later start his long and fruitful NFL career.
There’s a lot of other great nuggets in Meinke’s story, from Muhlbach’s relationship with quarterback Matt Stafford to his strict pregame routine involving banana slices and “In the Air Tonight,” but the reason we have any of those stories in the first place is because at one point he was just a kid who needed a ride home.