Calais Campbell

Ravens DL Calais Campbell Hints At Retirement After 2022

After flirting with the idea of retirement late last season, Ravens defensive lineman Calais Campbell decided to return for a 15th season back in April. This season, the 35-year-old didn’t wait for the end of the year to start up the retirement talk once again, according to Nick Shook of NFL Network. 

“I know I’ve got this year in me,” Campbell said about his future in the league. “I don’t know if there’s anything left after that, but I’m going to leave it all on the field. Empty the tank. And when it’s all said and done, after this year, I’ll reconvene in the offseason to see where I’m at.

“But, right now, I’m preparing like this is my last year. So, I’m going to give it everything I have.”

The six-time Pro Bowler, 2017 All-Pro, 2019 Walter Payton Man of the Year, and second-place finisher for the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year award has seen much of his success come as a veteran. Through his first six years in the league with the Cardinals, Campbell totaled a not unimpressive 36.5 sacks, 63.0 tackles for loss, and 72 quarterback hits. But his next six seasons (three in Arizona and three in Jacksonville) saw him rack up 51.5 sacks, 88.0 tackles for loss, and 129 quarterback hits, along with all the accolades at the top of the paragraph, minus one Pro Bowl earned in 2020.

None of this to diminish his early success in the NFL, the point to draw from those statistics is that age is just a number to Campbell. He has seen his returns diminish a bit over his two years in Baltimore, but Campbell refuses to disappear. Campbell showed flashes of his usual brilliance in Week 6 of 2020, when he won AFC Defensive Player of the Week for recording 4.0 tackles for loss, four quarterback hits, and 3.0 sacks on then-Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, and in Week 5 of 2021 when he fueled a Ravens’ comeback victory by blocking a Rodrigo Blankenship field goal attempt while down eight points late in the fourth quarter.

If we’re to take Campbell’s words seriously, that he plans to “empty the tank,” there’s no reason to believe he can’t reach the levels of success he saw that helped to birth the moniker of “Sacksonville” during his time with the Jaguars. We’ve seen Campbell record a career-high 14.5 sacks at the age of 31. We’ve seen him make the Pro Bowl at the age of 34.

Campbell will turn 36 just before the start of the 2022 NFL season. As the oldest defensive lineman on an NFL roster, he’ll begin the first year of the two-year deal that brought him back to Baltimore. Campbell isn’t focused on finishing that contract, though. Many players are encouraged to play each snap as if it’s their last. Campbell will have the rare opportunity to take that saying literally.

Browns, Chiefs, Colts Pursued DL Calais Campbell

Although Calais Campbell will play his age-36 season in 2022, the Ravens needed to fend off a few suitors to re-sign the accomplished defensive lineman.

The Browns, Chiefs and Colts showed interest in Campbell, according to USA Today’s Josina Anderson (on Twitter). Campbell elected to re-sign with the Ravens on a two-year deal that guarantees $6MM and could pay up to $16.5MM.

A six-time Pro Bowler, Campbell has thrived with three teams and in both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes. The trio of clubs pursuing Campbell use 4-3 alignments, though that distinction matters less in the sub-package-ruled modern game, but each team joins the Ravens as contenders in what has become a deep AFC.

Kansas City certainly has a need for pass-rushing help. Frank Clark has largely not delivered on the monster extension the Chiefs gave him and faces a suspension. The team lost interior pass rusher Jarran Reed in free agency and has yet to re-sign Melvin Ingram. The Chiefs’ 31 sacks last season ranked 29th. Cleveland has yet to re-sign Jadeveon Clowney and has needs at defensive tackle as well, with Malik Jackson hitting free agency and Malik McDowell nontendered as an RFA following an offseason arrest. The Colts added two-time Campbell teammate Yannick Ngakoue via trade and feature highly drafted youngsters Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo alongside DeForest Buckner up front.

The Ravens expressed interest in D-linemen this offseason, and Campbell fills a short-term need. Interior linemen Brandon Williams is a free agent, joining edge rusher Justin Houston. Both are going into their age-33 seasons. Derek Wolfe is considering retirement after injuries kept him off the field last year. Baltimore did bring back nose tackle Michael Pierce, whom the Vikings released last month. The team’s deal with Za’Darius Smith fell through at the 11th hour, with the Vikings eventually adding the Pro Bowl edge.

Ravens Re-Sign Calais Campbell

Calais Campbell is returning to Baltimore. The Pro Bowl pass rusher is re-signing with the Ravens, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). It’s a two-year deal for Campbell, and the defender is now expected to finish his career in Baltimore. Per Josina Anderson on Twitter, the deal has a max value of $16.5MM, and the deal contains $6MM in guaranteed money (Twitter link).

While Campbell left the door open to retire following the 2021 campaign, he later confirmed that he wanted to stick around for at least another season. Ravens GM Eric DeCosta later admitted that he was trying to convince Campbell to re-sign with the Ravens, and it sounds like the organization ultimately got their way.

“It just felt like the right move,” Campbell told Anderson (via Twitter). “I feel like we started something special and we have unfinished business there.”

A former Cardinals second-round pick, Campbell has excelled for three different franchises. He already rewarded the Jaguars as a 30-something free agent, spearheading the team’s “Sacksonville” D-line to the Super Bowl precipice in 2017. After three Pro Bowl seasons in Jacksonville, Campbell landed in Baltimore via trade in 2020.

In his two seasons with Baltimore, Campbell has started 26 of his 27 games while collecting 5.5 sacks. The 35-year-old delivered another strong season in 2021, helping a Ravens team that had to play without Derek Wolfe‘s for the entire year. Campbell ultimately finished the season with 49 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 12 QB hits.

A six-time Pro Bowler, former All-Pro, Walter Payton Man of the Year winner, 2017 Defensive Player of the Year, and a member of the 2010s All-Decade Team, Campbell is also in search of his 100th career sack. He currently sits at 93.5, although he has transitioned more and more into a run-stopper than a pass rusher in recent years.

Ravens Hope To Re-Sign Calais Campbell

Deemed a retirement candidate late in his 14th season, Calais Campbell subsequently indicated he plans on playing in 2022. The Ravens hope the stalwart defensive lineman will be back in Baltimore.

Eric DeCosta has been in contact with Campbell, and although the Baltimore GM sounded less certain aging interior D-lineman will play again, he would sign off on a third Campbell season with the Ravens.

I don’t want to speak for Calais, but I asked Calais, I basically said, ‘Listen, if you want to play, I’d like you to let me know at some point because we thought you had a good year, you are a good player,’” DeCosta said, via Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (subscription required) “I have a lot of admiration for Calais as a person and as a player and as a leader.

I’m hopeful that we can bring him back. We’d love to bring him back.”

Campbell, 35, delivered another strong season and was available in 15 games. That helped a Ravens team that did not have Derek Wolfe‘s services at all in 2021. Wolfe is coming off hip surgery, and the Ravens have D-linemen Brandon Williams on track for free agency. The Ravens re-signed Williams before he hit the market in 2017, but the higher-end interior defender turned 33 last week. Wolfe is signed, but he would be set for his age-32 season. Edge rusher Justin Houston, 33, is also a free agent. Defensive line is certainly a place where the Ravens could use younger regulars, but the team is thin at the interior and edge spots.

A former Cardinals second-round pick, Campbell has excelled for three franchises. He already rewarded the Jaguars as a 30-something free agent, spearheading the team’s “Sacksonville” D-line to the Super Bowl precipice in 2017. After three Pro Bowl seasons in Jacksonville, Campbell landed in Baltimore via trade. He and the Ravens agreed on a new deal following that swap, and Campbell made his sixth Pro Bowl in 2020.

Despite his age, Campbell (36 in September) stands to generate interest in his first free agency trip in five years. The All-Decade lineman and all-time kick blocker would be an interesting addition to a contender’s D-line. Holding just more than $8MM in cap space, the Ravens rank in the NFL’s bottom half here. The Ravens have exclusive negotiating rights with Campbell until March 14, when the legal tampering period opens.

Calais Campbell Returning In 2022

There had been a strong possibility that the 2021 season was the final chapter of Calais Campbell‘s career. Instead, he announced Sunday night that he will return next year, writes ESPN’s Jamison Hensley

The 35-year-old is a pending free agent, and he left the door open to retirement during the 2021 campaign. However, he wants to take at least one more shot at a Super Bowl title, the only accolade that has eluded him during his 14 seasons in the NFL.

“The feeling I have right now after seeing [the Rams] celebrate a world championship, I have a desire to go out there and play football and to compete”, he said. “So, I’m definitely not retiring. I’m coming back”.

A six-time Pro Bowler, former All-Pro, Walter Payton Man of the Year winner, 2017 Defensive Player of the Year and a member of the 2010s All-Decade Team, Campbell is also in search of his 100th career sack. He currently sits at 93.5, but has transitioned more and more into a run-stopper than a pass rusher in recent years.

Campbell’s first season in Baltimore was in 2020, where he earned a fourth consecutive Pro Bowl appearance. While his total tackles increased in 2021 to 49, his sack numbers dropped from four to 1.5. Still, his ability to defend the run that has been prevalent throughout his previous time with the Cardinals and Jaguars should garner him plenty of interest if he reaches the open market.

Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta has already been in discussion with Campbell regarding a new contract to stay in Baltimore. However, the defensive line – which has recently consisted of Campbell, along with fellow veterans Brandon Williams and Derek Wolfe – has been named as an area where the team will work to get younger at during the offseason. Perhaps, then, Campbell’s next, and quite possibly final, campaign in the NFL will be with a fourth team.

Ravens Notes: Lamar Jackson, Marquise Brown, Coaching Staff Changes

Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta held an end-of-season press conference on Friday. In it, he provided updates on a number of key points in the team’s upcoming offseason, including the current status of contract negotiations with quarterback Lamar Jackson

DeCosta made it clear that he is personally handling talks with Jackson, and has been from the beginning of the negotiation process. He added that the two of them have spoken “five or six times over the past year” (Twitter link via Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic). According to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, DeCosta added “I’m proud of the relationship that we have” (Twitter link).

Jackson certainly didn’t have the season he or the Ravens were expecting. In 12 games, he recorded 2,882 passing yards and a near-even (16:13) touchdown-to-interception ratio. While he added another 767 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, he also had six fumbles. Between those numbers, and a season-ending ankle injury, 2021 was a far cry from Jackson’s 2019 MVP campaign. If anything, that could further complicate his contract talks, which were reportedly not proceeding as hoped earlier in the season. DeCosta stated: “We’re working at Lamar’s pace… We will operate based on his urgency” (Twitter link), suggesting the team is willing to let the 25-year-old play on his fifth year option.

Here are some other important notes from the presser, along with some updates to the team’s coaching staff:

  • DeCosta said he expects to pick up the fifth year option on wide receiver Marquise Brown (Twitter link via Hensley). A close friend of Jackson’s, Brown had his most productive season in 2021 (91 catches, 1,008 yards, six touchdowns), though he tailed off considerably late in the campaign.
  • The offensive line will be a priority in the offseason. As Zrebiec tweets, DeCosta stated a desire to strengthen the unit overall, though he is “optimistic” left tackle Ronnie Stanley will be able to return to full health after a second major ankle surgery.
  • Zreibec adds that the team is planning on getting younger along the defensive front. With that said, DeCosta has already been in communication with veteran Calais Campbell, who was thought to be contemplating retirement throughout the year.
  • Hensley tweets that cornerback Marcus Peters is expected to be back. He missed the entire season and his release would create $10MM in cap space, but the former All-Pro would provide a playmaking element to the secondary if healthy.
  • As for the coaching staff, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora tweets that inside linebackers coach Rob Ryan will not return. Hensley adds that outside LBs coach Drew Wilkins has also been let go, to pursue new opportunities alongside former DC Don Martindale.
  • According to Zrebiec, former Raven Zach Orr is a candidate to replace Ryan. After his promising career was abruptly ended due to a rare neck ailment, he’s taken to coaching. He spent 2021 on the Jaguars’ staff.


Retirement On Table For Calais Campbell

Calais Campbell has provided a considerable boost to the Ravens’ defense over the past two seasons, running his string of post-30 Pro Bowl nods to four last year. But he is unsigned beyond 2021 and plans to take some time during the 2022 offseason to examine his future.

The 14-year veteran is expected to “strongly” consider retirement at season’s end, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Campbell is still playing at an elite level, slotting as Pro Football Focus’ No. 4 overall interior defender, but he has logged extensive time in the pros.

While a Campbell retirement or free agency exit would leave a void on Baltimore’s defensive line, the former Cardinals and Jaguars standout is 35 and has played 222 career games — counting 14 playoff outings. That is fifth among defensive linemen in the 21st century. Given his role as a 3-4 defensive end, the ex-Miami Hurricane does not fit the profile of a player who could tack additional years onto his career as a situational edge rusher.

Campbell missed time last season because of a calf strain and a positive COVID-19 test. The six-time Pro Bowler, however, has not missed a game this year to help a Baltimore defense that will not have Derek Wolfe‘s services throughout the season. Campbell’s most recent blocked field goal kept a Ravens comeback win over the Colts in play last month. He certainly stands to play a key role in the Ravens’ latest push for the AFC North title.

Campbell has not been a free agent since signing a big-ticket deal with the Jaguars in 2017. That agreement played a major role in Jacksonville making a surprise run to that year’s AFC championship game. Despite not being honored as a Pro Bowler in his first six seasons, the 6-foot-8 defender has been named to the NFL’s all-star game in six of the past seven seasons. Campbell considering stepping away from the game would be a key offseason storyline.

COVID-19 Latest: Ravens, Tuitt, Colts

Multiple standout defensive linemen will be back in action in Week 13, and although the Ravens still have several players on their reserve/COVID-19 list, their roster is no longer as depleted as it was Wednesday.

  • Baltimore’s coronavirus list still houses 10 players, including Lamar Jackson, but the team will have multiple starters back at practice soon. The Ravens activated Calais Campbell, Mark Ingram and defensive lineman Jihad Ward from their virus list. Ingram was eligible to play against the Steelers on Wednesday, but the Ravens held him out. A five-time Pro Bowler, Campbell has not played since Nov. 8 due to a calf strain.
  • The 11-0 Steelers will have Stephon Tuitt back in action when they face Washington on Monday. They activated the seventh-year starter from their reserve/COVID list. Three Steelers remain on the virus list, including starters James Conner and Maurkice Pouncey.
  • Pricey trade acquisition DeForest Buckner came off the Colts‘ virus list as well. Buckner landed on Indianapolis’ COVID list after testing positive for the virus in late November. The Colts, who allowed the Titans to rush for 229 yards in Buckner’s absence last week, also removed Jonathan Taylor from their virus list.
  • The Ravens announced Saturday that four strains of the coronavirus were present in their building. While the team believes it contained three of those strains, the fourth ended up spreading to the point it forced the NFL to postpone the team’s Steelers rematch three times. Ten straight days commenced with at least one Raven testing positive for the virus, and the team had as many as 23 players on its reserve/COVID list at the height of the outbreak. Four straight days, however, have passed without a Ravens positive test.

NFL Postpones Ravens-Steelers Due To COVID-19

Thursday’s game between the Ravens and Steelers has been postponed due to a rash of positive COVID-19 tests. Now, the two teams are set to meet on Sunday afternoon, though the league will continue to monitor the situation between now and then.

We learned yesterday that Baltimore was dealing with 10 total coronavirus cases, including five players. As Dan Graziano of reports (via Twitter), the Ravens have actually had seven players test positive over the past three days: RBs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins — which we already knew about — QB Trace McSorley, OLB Pernell McPhee, DE Calais Campbell, C Matt Skura, and G/C Patrick Mekari, all of whom will be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. As such, the league really had no other choice but to push back the game.

Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network points out that the league did not make the decision because the Ravens would have been extremely shorthanded. After all, the players who tested positive won’t be allowed to play on Sunday either. Instead, a number of Baltimore players are (obviously) close contacts with those who tested positive, and the NFL wants to make sure the spread is contained (Twitter link).

Unfortunately, things could get worse for the Ravens. Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the league and the team know how the outbreak began, and there is a chance more players will test positive. By Friday, the NFL expects to know if everything is under control or if the game will need to be postponed again.

If another postponement becomes necessary, this game will likely be the first one set in on the novel Week 18. The Ravens are scheduled to play the Cowboys next Thursday, so the league will not make them play a game on Monday or Tuesday before a Thursday night contest.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Calais Campbell To Miss Multiple Weeks

It looks like the Ravens will be without a key part of their defense for the time being. Defensive tackle Calais Campbell has a calf strain that will likely sidelined him for multiple games, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets.

Fortunately, Rapoport reports that there are no structural issues and it’s not considered a particularly major injury at this time. Campbell left yesterday’s win over the Colts very early with the injury. In a separate video tweet, Rapoport says it’s expected to be 2-3 weeks, with a “worst case scenario” of four weeks. Calf issues can linger, so Baltimore will likely be cautious with the big fella. The veteran is 34 now, so there’s no reason for him to rush back from an injury like this.

The Ravens made a deal with Jacksonville to trade for Campbell back in March, and signed him to a two-year extension worth up to $27MM immediately after. That deal will run through next season and since almost all of it is guaranteed, he’ll almost certainly be back in 2021 no matter what.

Campbell has remained very productive even at his relatively advanced age, racking up 24 tackles, four sacks, and a whopping six passes defended in only seven-plus games. He’s made the Pro Bowl in five of the past six seasons, and was a first-team All-Pro in 2017. He’s also a vocal leader in the locker room and on the field, so his absence will be felt in more ways than one.