Allen Park — Training camp is more than a month away, but one position battle has already been decided.
After waiving Jimmy Landes as part of the team’s transactions on Thursday, it all but cements Don Muhlbach as the long snapper in 2017. It will be his 14th year with the organization.
Muhlbach declined comment after the team’s minicamp practice in the morning, but coach Jim Caldwell offered some high praise for the veteran.
“Muhlbach is our guy and that’s where we are at this point,” Caldwell said. “He’s been great for us. He hasn’t been average, he’s been great for us.”
Working together with punter Sam Martin and kicker Matt Prater, the Lions had one of the NFL’s best special teams units last season. Martin finished with the third-best net punting average in league history and Prater went 31 for 36 on his field goals, including multiple game winners.
If he plays five more games with the Lions, Muhlbach will have appeared in the third most in franchise history, behind only Dominic Raiola and Jason Hanson.
Landes, a sixth-round draft pick last season, spent his rookie season on injured reserve following shoulder surgery. He had been a full participant in the offseason program, but had been unable to unseat Muhlbach from a job.
Of general manager Bob Quinn’s 19 draft picks the past two seasons, Landes is the only one not currently on the roster.