Lions' Dan Campbell on communicating with players: 'My door's always open'

Nolan Bianchi
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Former Lions offensive tackle Tyrell Crosby made news over the weekend when he told the Detroit Free Press that the people leading the Lions’ current regime “truly just don’t care about the players.”

Crosby laid several claims against general manager Brad Holmes, head coach Dan Campbell and then-offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn. Crosby claimed that a decision to sit out of voluntary OTAs last season was held against him and that the team ignored his complaints about back pain while he rehabbed from a hamstring injury, an ailment that was ultimately diagnosed as a degenerative condition that required spinal fusion surgery.

The Lions declined to comment on the story, but Campbell addressed the claims Monday morning when asked by Jon Jansen during a radio hit with the "Stoney and Jansen Show" on 97.1 The Ticket.

Lions offensive lineman Tyrell Crosby works during drills last season.

“Honestly, I don’t,” Campbell said in response to a question about whether he feels the need to address the claims with the team, “so that it doesn’t become an issue in the locker room.”

“My players know, if they've got an issue, they’ll come up and talk to me. And they know that, man, my door’s always open. You can come talk to me in practice, if you really believe there’s something going on — we’re big on that, man. It’s all about communicating. … If you’ve got a problem and something’s on your mind, come talk to us, man, you’re not gonna get blasted. We’re gonna talk to you. We’re gonna talk to you like men. We’ll tell you exactly what we were doing, what we were thinking. And I don’t really feel like this is something I need to be proactive about to be honest with you, so I wish him the best of luck, and it’s all good.”

After the Lions drafted Penei Sewell with the No. 7 pick in the 2021 draft, it was reported that Detroit had put Crosby, who made 11 starts the year prior, on the trade block. Crosby then sat out most of the preseason last year rehabbing a hamstring injury. It was then that Crosby started to feel the back pain, he said. 

The Lions made a surprising move in waiving Crosby following the final preseason game, which Crosby participated in, with Campbell saying, "We didn't feel like he was one of the best guys.”

Lions left tackle Taylor Decker, a first-round pick in 2016 who was teammates with Crosby from 2018-21, described a set of team circumstances Monday that directly contradicted the essence of Crosby’s allegations.

“There’s just an atmosphere established for open communication for like growth as a player,” Decker said. “Whether that’s player-to-player, player-to-coach, coach-to-coach, player-to-front-office-personnel. There’s just that open communication where, man, this guy wants the best for me. … I think that’s a huge thing — it kind of sounds like a weird thing — but just the atmosphere for open communication between everybody, I think that’s been huge for guys’ growth, guys’ confidence and for everybody to mesh together.

“Because you feel like everybody cares about you. You talk about your offensive line, I love those guys. We talk about stuff all the time; football, not football, life and that just brings you closer and closer together because you have that communication.”

Twitter: @nolanbianchi