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Detroit Lions new head coach Dan Campbell ready and rarin’ to go

By LARRY LAGE

AP Sports Writer

ALLEN PARK — Dan Campbell was so fired up on the eve of his first practice with the Detroit Lions that he did not get any rest.

“Man, I didn’t sleep at all, but that’s OK,” Campbell said Wednesday morning. “I got plenty of energy without sleep.”

The former New Orleans Saints assistant head coach was emotionally charged six-plus months ago when he was introduced as the new Lions coach after signing a six-year contract. He said the team would be tough, kicking teeth and biting kneecaps off in an eyebrow-raising news conference.

Campbell’s intensity clearly has not waned, but the former NFL tight end also wants to relish the pursuit of building a winner and implored players to embrace every moment.

“Enjoy this ride we’re on,” Campbell recalled saying at a team meeting Tuesday. “We know this is high stress, man, and it’s about winning. It’s about finding ways to win. It’s about overcoming adversity.”

Campbell has an opportunity to turn around a franchise that has faced a lot of adversity the past six-plus decades.

Since winning the NFL title in 1957, the Lions have one playoff victory and that was more than three decades ago.

Detroit has had 13 double-digit loss seasons over the last 20, including the previous three years.

The Lions ended their experiment of trying to replicate the New England Patriots’ success, firing general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia with five games left in another failed season.

Shortly before hiring Campbell, the franchise decided to give Brad Holmes his first shot to be an NFL general manager. Holmes led the Los Angeles Rams’ college scouting department for eight years and began his 18-year career with the team as a public relations intern, choosing to work for that franchise instead of having the same opportunity with the Lions.

Campbell has 11 years of experience in the NFL as a coach. The former Texas A&M standout was a tight end for 11 seasons with the New York Giants, Dallas, New Orleans and Detroit, ending his playing career with an injury early in the 2008 season when the Lions went on to have the league’s first 0-16 season.