Earl Campbell: Today's RBs 'look like they're average'


CANTON, Ohio -- Hall of Fame running back Earl Campbell is waiting for the next dominant running back to step up, but he's not holding his breath.

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"I think it's because the way the game has changed, to where all of them just look like they're average backs because they pass the ball so much," Campbell told Around the League on Friday. "I don't think there's a runner in pro football you could say was like a Jim Brown."

Campbell, who ran for 9,407 yards in eight seasons with Houston Oilers and New Orleans Saints, pointed to a dearth of backs who can wear down the clock in the final minutes of a game. He specifically talked about teams falling victim to quarterbacks like Peyton and Eli Manning because offenses can't seal games on the ground.

"You want a running back that can take that ball and just continually -- three, two yards -- keep it away from Eli," Campbell said. "It's all a quarterback game now."

Campbell doesn't blame today's runners. It's the pass-happy systems they exist in, something he didn't confront on the same scale. Campbell acknowledged he was happy to play at a time (from 1978 to 1985) when featured backs dominated the NFL. Today's runners tread a thornier road to Canton.