Lions head coach Dan Campbell said the NFL wouldn’t let him have a pet lion on the sideline

Dan Campbell's dream of owning a pet lion will have to wait. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Dan Campbell’s dream of owning a pet lion will have to wait. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell has said some wild things since he was hired in 2021. From his caffeine consumption to the famous “bite kneecaps” line, Campbell has always said whatever comes to his mind — even in front of the media.

But perhaps the craziest idea he purported soon after he joined the Lions was about getting a pet lion to live at the team’s practice facility. He said on the “Pardon My Take” podcast in 2021 that he wanted “a legit pet lion on a chain, a big ass chain” who he would walk around with at practice.

Well, Campbell apparently wasn’t kidding when he said he asked Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp for it. And while Campbell said she OK’d the ask, the NFL shut it down.

“Sheila, she had no problem with it, but the league apparently frowns on those types of things,” Campbell said on a recent “Pardon My Take” episode. “I’m not gonna point out [NFL commissioner] Roger [Goodell] on this, I’m just gonna say that the league frowns on that, let’s just say that.”

Live animal mascots aren’t uncommon in the NFL. The Baltimore Ravens have two, the Denver Broncos have an Arabian horse, the Seattle Seahawks have a hawk and the Cleveland Browns have a bull mastiff. The Kansas City Chiefs used to have a pinto horse and the Miami Dolphins used to have a live dolphin.

But none of those animals offer the same size and terror as a live lion would. Sadly, Campbell will have to keep dreaming.

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