The Dan Campbell reason Super Bowl-winning Lions guard nixes retirement plans

The Detroit Lions have generated an incredibly positive buzz around the NFL heading into the 2023 season. The team is expected to contend for the NFC North title, and a deep run in the playoffs.

Head Coach Dan Campbell is a major reason the team has become so popular in player circles, along with a winning 2022 record. Campbell has molded the Lions into a Super Bowl dark horse this upcoming season. Recently, a Super Bowl winning Lions guard revealed he nixed his retirement plans for a Campbell specific reason.

“I can’t leave Penei (Sewell). I can’t leave all my guys. I can’t leave them,” Lions guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai said about his decision to return. “I love this team a lot. I’m going to help Dan (Campbell) win one.”

Vaitai is the projected starter along the offensive line at guard on the latest Lions preseason depth chart. The eight-year pro won a Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018. He was asked to restructure his contract prior to his return, and is expected to mentor younger players. The chance to help Campbell win a Super Bowl was a motivating factor in his decision.

“I’m like, ‘What am I doing? I can’t decide what to do,’” Vaitai said about the process after a practice last week. “The only thing I know is football, but it was great. I got to reflect on my life and my career in the league, so it was really good and just (to) sit down with my wife and just talk over a lot of things.”