The 2021 season could be a farewell tour for Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Calais Campbell.
Turning 35 in September, Campbell said Tuesday that he’s taking it year by year and still contemplating whether he might retire after his 14th NFL season.
“That’s something I’m still figuring out, I guess,” Campbell said, per the team’s official website. “I kind of take it one year at a time. I know that I’ve got this year in me for sure. I’m going to give what I have this year, and then we’ll reevaluate once the season ends.
“It’s definitely something you think about. I used to say when I was younger I wanted to play 15 (years). I didn’t realize how hard 15 was going to be. This is 14 for me. I know I’ve got this in me for sure. I’d still like to play 15. Hopefully I’ve got another one. We’ll see.”
Even at an escalated age, the 6-foot-8 people-mover can be a difference-maker. In his first year in Baltimore, Campbell earned his sixth Pro Bowl nod last season, a fourth consecutive honor. Playing just 12 games, he generated four sacks and 28 tackles.
Campbell dealt with a calf injury that sidelined him, then missed Week 12 while dealing with COVID-19. The veteran said he’s fully recovered but won’t forget his bout with the coronavirus.
“Sometimes, I feel like it kind of comes and goes, I guess I really can’t be sure until we get to the thick of things,” Campbell said. “I’ve been really good for the last couple of months. I haven’t had any real issues. It lingered for a while. I still don’t wish that on anybody, it’s such a tough thing to go through. You don’t feel like yourself, even when you’re past the symptoms that everybody has. I definitely feel a lot better. I feel like I’m ready to go out there and dominate, have some fun. I hope I stay that way.”
Before he eventually does ride into the sunset – whether in 2022 or beyond – Campbell wants to get a taste of Super Bowl action.
“There’s only one happy team at the end of the year,” Campbell said. “Last year, we feel like we had a good chance but we didn’t get it done. I think the mentality this year is just try to make the best of this one. We know what we have as a team as far as talent, as far as scheme. We know that we can be very good, quite special, really.
“It’s a new year, 17 games, this year is going to be a little different than years past. Somebody has to set the standard for that. Why not us?”
Perhaps a Lombardi Trophy might make Campbell’s retirement decision a tad easier.
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