Arizona's big DE Campbell plans even bigger year
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Calais Campbell stands an imposing 6-foot-8 and weighs 300 pounds, making him one of the tallest defensive linemen in the NFL.
The size of the Arizona Cardinals' defensive end can be a blessing and a burden — a blessing because he can swat away passes and field goal tries and bury hapless quarterbacks, a burden because he has to constantly remember to stay low lest he be an easy target for blockers.
"This is a battle I've been going through my whole life," he said after practice Wednesday. "The name of the game is stay low, the low man always wins.
"When it comes to batting down passes and blocking field goals, being tall definitely comes in handy, but you have to stay low first."
Last season was a breakout one for Campbell, and he has been rewarded with a five-year, $55 million contract extension, with $31 million guaranteed.
He acknowledged that, with the big contract comes added pressure to perform.
"I guess naturally it puts a burden on you a little bit," Campbell said. "But I put a big burden on myself to go out there and be the best I could be. I'm very passionate about this game. I love what I do. I want to be held accountable and I want to be worth every dollar they gave me."
A second-round draft pick out of Miami in 2008, Campbell has led or tied for the team lead in sacks each of the past three seasons. Last year, he had eight sacks, 73 tackles and 11 passes defensed, two forced fumbles , a fumble recovery and a whopping three blocked field goals — all career highs.
The three blocked field goals tied Seattle's Red Bryant for most in the NFL. Campbell was the leading force on a team that had an NFL-high five blocked field goals last season. He has five blocks in his career.