Falcons: Arthur Smith has comical comparison for Calais Campbell

NFL: OCT 15 Commanders at Falcons

Calais Campbell is 37 years old and in his 16th NFL season, but you wouldn’t know it by his performance on the field this past Sunday.

The veteran recorded 1.5 sacks, a tackle for loss, and three quarterback hits. He’s now up to 5.5 sacks on the season with two games remaining and has been elite against the run the entire year. Most 37-year-olds would be running out of gas, particularly this deep into the season, but Calais Campbell has only gotten stronger as the year has waned, prompting Falcons head coach Arthur Smith to refer to him as Benjamin Button.


Button famously aged in reverse in the 2008 film starring Brad Pitt, and it’s a fair comparison.

Most players are lucky to play a few years at a high level in the NFL, let alone 16. When the Falcons signed Calais Campbell, it looked like it might just be a one-year thing as he heads into retirement. That no longer appears to be the case. He is just as dedicated to his craft now as he was when he burst onto the scene as a fresh-faced 22-year-old with the Arizona Cardinals.

Calais Campbell still has a ton left in the tank, and it doesn’t seem as if retirement is on his mind. The Falcons should do everything in their power to retain him this offseason when he becomes a free agent. Atlanta’s defense has transformed from one of the worst defenses in the league to a top 10 unit in just one year. Campbell’s presence across the defensive line is a primary factor in that, and having veterans like him is invaluable for the younger members of this improving group.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon

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