It’s becoming more commonplace for players to become head coaches in the NFL, and Falcons defender Calais Campbell could be next.
Most recently, it’s been the success of guys like Dan Campbell, Kevin O’Connell, Demeco Ryans and Antonio Pierce that are making players-turned-coaches a growing trend.
Calais Campbell’s career is winding down after 16 years in Arizona, Baltimore, Jacksonville and Atlanta, but the longtime locker room leader established himself as one of the league’s most prominent captains during his long tenure with the Cardinals.
“Just his presence out there, it just commands leadership,” Falcons senior defensive assistant Dave Huxtable said of the 37-year-old in August, per Amna Subhan of the team’s official website. “He’s such a friendly guy; he’s a friendly giant.”
Calais Campbell is highly regarded around the NFL. He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer and an even better human, winner of the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
He eclipsed the 100-sack threshold with the Falcons this season in what might be the final one of his illustrious 16-year career. It’s why so many people were surprised when Campbell chose Atlanta over Super Bowl contenders, one of which is playing this weekend in Baltimore.
Campbell showed he’s got plenty left in the tank, recording 6.5 sacks, tied for the most on the Falcons, if he wants to continue playing. He relished playing for Arthur Smith and Ryan Nielsen, so he might not play in Atlanta again, but he could follow Nielsen and wind up back in Jacksonville, where he enjoyed his best seasons as a professional.
Regardless of where/if he plays, Calais Campbell is a first-class football player and will make a fine coach someday if he chooses.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire