The Detroit Lions call the Michigan community home, so it was no surprise that the team was deeply impacted by the tragic events in Oxford, Michigan on Tuesday, November 30.
Like everyone, Lions head coach Dan Campbell heard the news of an active shooter having killed four students at the school and it’s clear he was overcome with emotion about the event much like everyone when they heard the news.
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On Wednesday, December 1, Campbell opened up his press conference by addressing the tragedy and saying his thoughts were with the community which is 45 minutes north of Detroit.
“Our heart goes out to the Oxford community. It’s awful. Nobody should have to deal with that. Just prayers go out to the families and friends and everybody involved. That goes from myself to our players, the whole Lions community. It’s awful,” Campbell said.
Campbell admitted he was shocked by the news, and particularly so because he has children who go to school. That helped put things in complete perspective for him.
“That’s not something you want to hear or think about and so when you hear it, it hits you like a ton of bricks, especially when you got kids,” Campbell told the media. “You think about whether they’re young or in high school, they’re going to school and that’s the last thing you’re thinking. It’s brutal.”
As Campbell explained, the tragedy caused him to take a moment with his wife and ponder the true meaning of life given the tragedy was a major wakeup call.
“To be honest with you this got on us in a hurry. I reached out to her this morning and told her have a good day. I just wanted to make sure she knows I care about her,” Campbell said when asked to talk about his family interactions after the tragedy. “I think that’s the biggest thing. We’re not guaranteed anything on this earth, so you just live each moment like it could be your last, because you don’t know. That’s kind of the reality behind it. It’s awful.”
It’s a powerful thought from the head coach, and no doubt one that has crossed the minds of plenty of folks in recent hours.
Lions, Alex Anzalone Released Statements About Oxford Shooting
Obviously, it wasn’t just Campbell who was reeling a bit from the news. The Lions organization as a whole wasted no time reacting to the tragedy, putting out a statement after the events played out on November 30. As the team said, their thoughts were with the Oxford community and all those impacted by the shooting.
Lions players also saw the news and reacted to it, with linebacker Alex Anzalone offering perhaps the best take on the matter simply saying there were no words given the tragedy hit very close to home and offered his prayers.
From Campbell to the Lions to Anzalone, it’s clear that everyone is trying to put such heartbreaking news in proper perspective.
Campbell Plans to Reach Out to Oxford Coach Zach Line
Oxford’s football team was touched by the tragedy in a very close and horrible way, with news that player Tate Myre had been one of the students killed in the shooting. That had a direct tie in for Campbell, who worked with Oxford coach Zach Line for a pair of seasons when the duo was in New Orleans together within the last few years. Line played fullback for the Minnesota Vikings from 2013 to 2016 and then with the Saints from 2017 to 2019 after a career with SMU.
“I knew he was up here, just totally (forgot). I found out about it after the walkthrough so I didn’t even realize that. That will be the first thing I do when I leave here is give him a call. I did not even put two and two together,” Campbell admitted to the media.
Line returned to Oxford to coach his alma mater after retiring from the NFL, and Myre was one of his standout players this season. That offers a very direct tie for Campbell that is likely to hit even closer to home given his time in New Orleans overlapped with Line’s.
In more ways than one, the tragedy in Oxford left nobody in Michigan unscathed, including Detroit’s NFL football team.