Dan Campbell Reveals Touching Gesture to Honor Oxford High School

Dan Campbell

Getty Dan Campbell walks on the field before a Lions game in 2021 vs. Minnesota.

It’s been one year since an unspeakable gun violence tragedy at Oxford High School claimed the lives of four students and injured six, and the Detroit Lions have not forgotten.

Head coach Dan Campbell made sure to drive that point home during his news conference on Wednesday, November 30 with a classy gesture. Campbell sported the hat of the Oxford High School Wildcats, and made special mention of the fact that the team is still there for the community that was hurt by the event.

As Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press showed with a picture, the coach was donning the cap at the presser. He would go on to have some special words to say about the meaning behind the gesture.

When asked about the gesture, Campbell said it was simply one of remembrance and an ability to connect with the community at large that the Lions are in.

“It’s only simply what everybody in this community already knows. It is an anniversary. If you’re outside of that community which was directly impacted, you go about your lives. You forget about it. You got other things going on, this and that. Just for this moment, I wanted them to know we’re thinking about them. There was a little bit of a thought that hey, this happened a year ago (and) we feel your pain. Just because time has passed doesn’t mean those scars aren’t still there. We see you. We still see you. I think thats a big thing,” Campbell said.

Last year, Lions players wore the Oxford hats during practice leading into their Week 13 game against the Minnesota Vikings. During the game, they also sported the hats and in warmups, wore t-shirts. It was a special moment when the team was able to deliver the win for the community after that.

Showing that everyone remains in the thoughts of the players and staff is very important and significant at this time.

Campbell: Lions Gestures Were for Oxford

As many might remember, Campbell has a relationship with Oxford football coach Zach Line, who played in the NFL for New Orleans when Campbell was a coach with the team. Line lost one of his players in Tate Myre during the shooting.

Speaking at the press conference, Campbell said that it wasn’t about the Lions making a show, but rather honoring the community that had been devastated by the act of violence.

“Zach (Line), look he’s he’s a great friend. He was a guy that was a teammate that endeared himself to his teammates. Guys love playing with him. But I just know that what our players did and were able to do and just the awareness that was put forth and the caring, I know it meant a lot to him and to those guys and to everybody over there. But there again, it’s about them, not us,” Campbell said.

The Lions managed to get the game ball from their 29-27 win over Minnesota to Oxford, and that was a move which Campbell said meant a lot to him because of the symbolism and how the Lions were able to follow through on their promise to deliver something special to a community that had been hit by tragedy.

“It was important. I mean, I go back to that time last year and really, there was more to it than just we’re going out to to win a game. It was about at the very least you wanted to just take their mind off some of that pain for a three-hour period and give them something that they could be proud of,” he said. “Something that took their mind off of it even for a little bit and know that hey, we were playing for them. So I was glad we were able to give that to them, then give them the ball.”

The support likely means more than the ball ever could, and this year, Campbell continues to prove why he is the perfect fit as a leader in Detroit with these thoughtful words and gesture.

Detroit Scored First 2021 Win After Tragedy

In Week 13 of the 2021 season, the Lions were still searching for their first win. Perhaps almost poetically, they were able to find it in upset fashion against the Vikings the week after the tragedy occurred.

After picking up the pieces as best they could leading into the game, the Lions managed to play arguably the best game they had all season long up to that point in upsetting the favored Vikings.

The Lions got a 296 yard, three touchdown day from Jared Goff, and watched as their defense forced a fumble and generated three sacks. The team witnessed a breakout from then-rookie wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown, who put up 86 yards and the eventual game winning touchdown on fourth and two.

Ironically, Myre wore number 42 while playing football for Oxford. The symbolism was all over, and it persists for the Lions and their community even a year later.

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