Calais Campbell knows what it's like to be close to winning a Super Bowl and falling shy. He knows what it's like to be on talented teams that came up shorter than the ultimate goal. Entering his 13th NFL season, the new Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman is ready to get over the hump.
"Honestly, it's a great situation to be in," Campbell told SiriusXM NFL Radio over the weekend. "The team is very, very talented. You look at Baltimore's roster up and down and there's talent everywhere. Throughout the draft, we got even stronger at some of the positions where we needed help. I'm really excited about the opportunity. I think, you know, this is one of those times where, I've been playing football for 12 years and I've been close a bunch -- you know, I've played in what, three championships games, one Super Bowl -- but I haven't been able to win it yet. So, I feel like, this team, as talented as it is, this is probably going to be the best shot I have. And so, my mindset is just embrace it, treat every moment special and make each moment count."
Campbell's rookie season in 2008, he went to the Super Bowl with the Arizona Cardinals, coming up just shy to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The next season, the Cards got ousted in the Divisional Round. After spiraling for four years, Campbell's Arizona team returned to the playoffs as a wild-card squad in 2014 but lost when injuries forced QB Ryan Lindley to start. The following year the Cardinals managed to get back to the NFC Championship Game but got blown out by Cam Newton's Panthers.
After moving to Jacksonville in 2017, Campbell immediately became an anchor on a ridiculously good defense that helped the Jaguars reach the AFC Championship Game, only to lose once again.
Now in Baltimore, the 33-year-old knows he's joining a team primed for a deep playoff run. Far from simply a ride-along, Campbell believes his experiences of coming up short in the past can help mold a young team that faltered in the postseason.
"I have some experience I can share with the guys," he said. "You know, cause going 14-2, but not winning, you don't get to start back at 14-2, you gotta start back at 0-0. You have to earn your way to that level again. I feel like I have have a lot of experience over the years of the good and bad and just how to prepare and stay focused. I mean, the team is talented ... the coaches are great. And it really comes down to execution and just setting yourself apart. During this time right now with COVID when it all became virtual, nobody can go into the building. Right now it really comes down to maturity, who's gonna put the time in, who's gonna put the effort in to be able to put themselves in position when we do come back not to miss a bit. Be able to just pick up and go. I don't know if a lot of people are doing that right now, but I really feel like in Baltimore, we're in a really good position."