The road to becoming a locker room leader, meeting room mentor and all-around powerful presence started with four words.
“Let’s go with Jacksonville.”
Calais Campbell has been going ever since.
Revered by his teammates and respected by his coaches, Campbell arrived at the Jaguars’ complex after signing in early March with his figurative hair on fire, intent to show he’s an elite defensive lineman and that his excellent leadership skills could transfer from Arizona.
Check and check.
The Jaguars outbid Denver and Washington to sign Campbell and he debuted last week in spectacular fashion, posting four sacks in a 29-7 win over the Houston Texans. It was his career high and the single-game Jaguars record.
Nobody is counting on Campbell to have four sacks or for the defense to get 10 sacks Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. But if he is again dominant, the Jaguars could be 2-0 for the first time in 11 years.
“To see him first-hand every day, he’s a special guy,” defensive end Dante Fowler says. “He’s hungry and he inspires.”
Says defensive line coach Marion Hobby: “He’s a natural football player with exceptional ability.”
In March, Campbell entered unrestricted free agency for the first time and had a number in mind – an average salary of $15 million, which would put him among five highest-paid defensive linemen.
When the negotiating period opened, Arizona offered $9 million per year, trailing the Jaguars and Washington at $11 million. A ton of money? Yes. But as a documentary of the process produced by Uninterrupted showed,…
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