Former Dolphins interim coach Dan Campbell vows his new team will 'bite a kneecap off'

After leading Dolphins for 12 games in 2015, The Dude abides with bringing winning culture to Lions
Miami Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell in December 2015
Posted at 9:42 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 21:42:11-05

Dan Campbell, who once led the Miami Dolphins in an interim capacity, was introduced Thursday as the new head coach of the Detroit Lions.

During his introductory news conference, Miami's former interim head coach made plenty of headlines with his emotionally charged description of his new job.

Here's what Campbell, 44, had to say:

"Here's what I do know is that this team is going to take on the identity of this city, all right? And this city has been down and it found a way to get up. It's found a way to overcome adversity, all right? So this team is going to be built on, we're going to kick you in the teeth, all right? And when you punch us back, we're going to smile at you. And when you knock us down, we're going to get up and on the way up, we're going to bite a kneecap off, all right? And we're going to stand up and then it's going to take two more shots to knock us down, all right? And on the way up, we're going to take your other kneecap and we're going to get up and then it's going to take three shots to get us down. And when we do, we're going to take another hunk out of you. Before, before long, we're going to be the last one standing, all right? That's going to be the mentality."

Campbell, who played for the Lions for three seasons during his 11-year NFL career, cut his teeth as an assistant coach with the Dolphins, first as a coaching intern in 2010. He was later promoted to tight ends coach, a title he held for five seasons before replacing the fired Joe Philbin as interim head coach in October 2015.

The Dolphins were 5-7 under Campbell after a 1-3 start to the 2015 season. He spoke a bit about his mentality at the end of his 12-game stint in charge in Miami.

"I knew I could do this," Campbell said. "I knew this was something that I was -- I felt like I was -- born to do."

Campbell said he also made a list of things he could have done better.

After the 2015 season, Campbell got a call from Sean Payton, who hired him in New Orleans, where he's spent the last five seasons coaching tight ends and serving as Payton's assistant head coach.

Winning hasn't come easy for the Lions, who have just one playoff victory since winning the NFL title in 1957, which predates the Super Bowl era.

Perhaps he can channel his inner Jeffrey Lebowski, also known as "The Dude," from the 1998 movie "The Big Lebowski." Campbell referenced his resemblance to Jeff Bridges' character in the movie, and the team found humor in the moment.

A name tag outside the door of his new office now reads, "Dan Campbell, Head Coach/The Dude."

If anyone tells Campbell he signed up to coach a bunch of losers, it wouldn't be surprising to hear him quote from one of The Dude's memorable retorts.

"Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man."