Lions Sign Former Cardinals Player

For eight seasons, Nathan Hodel held down long snapping duties for the Arizona Cardinals. In the same week that the Cardinals visit the Detroit Lions, Hodel gets signed to the two-win team. Call it a coincidence or call it the oldest trick in the book.

OK, it's not like the Lions signed free agent Edgerrin James to take on the Cardinals this weekend at home. But they did pick up former eight-year Cardinal Nathan Hodel.

Although long snappers have one of the lonelier jobs in the league, Hodel can tell the Lions a thing or two about the Cardinals.

Lions head coach Jim Schwartz thinks highly of the under appreciated long snapper position. The Lions starter Don Muhlbach's status for Sunday is unclear, which is why the Lions signed Hodel.

"We needed to wait as long as we could to make that move and we did," Schwartz said. "It still doesn't shut the door on (Muhlbach), there's still a possibility that he'll be able to go but we just wanted to make sure that if he wasn't, we'd have somebody who had been practicing and was ready to go that we could pull the trigger on rather than bringing a guy in who never worked with the punter or the placekicker before."

Schwartz understands the importance of the role.

"Well, everybody always looks at the placekicker but the snapper and the holder are every bit just as important. Snap, hold, protection when you have field goals and for the punter, the location of the ball is huge and the velocity of the ball is huge. Those guys are unsung heroes. If they make good snaps nobody knows about the, but if they make bad snaps, it's painfully obvious. It's a very, very important part of the team."

It seems the Hodel signing should be the only one to make the transaction wire for the Lions this week. There has been outside talk about trading WR Calvin Johnson but Schwartz dismissed it.

"We're in the process of trying to acquire good players, not let good players leave. I think that if we've learned anything from history, it's to value your talent and not to discard it." Basically Johnson is untouchable when it comes to trading. "He's one of the best players at his position in the National Football League. He's done nothing to disappoint us and there would be no reason to make a move like that."
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