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Campbell encouraged by team's heart

Posted Dec 11, 2013

Cleveland Browns quarterback Jason Campbell has been impressed by the heart and desire he has seen from his teammates despite being eliminated from the AFC North Division race.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Jason Campbell walked off the field at Gillette Stadium Sunday a proud teammate, and carried that pride with him through to Wednesday's practice.

Campbell, who led the Browns to a near upset of the AFC East Division leading New England Patriots Sunday, said he feels the fight from his teammates will lead to good things in the team’s future.

“I get encouraged because I feel like the team is going in the right direction,” Campbell said. “We’ve just got to keep plugging and keep progressing forward. Of course, I was upset Sunday night and Monday night. I was thinking about how we had the game and things all the way, but you can definitely take some positives out of it, keep moving forward and stay encouraged and understanding we’re building something.

“To go out and play that way, it’s exciting, but at the same time, the last two days have been rough just because we got the loss. That’s the only thing I’ve been thinking about, ‘What could’ve been done differently to try to get a win? What could I have done differently?’ Sometimes, you’ve got to let that stuff go, just keep competing, keep working hard.”

Despite being heavy underdogs with 68,756 Patriots fans doing their best to make communication difficult for the Browns, Cleveland nearly handed New England just their 16th home loss since Gillette Stadium opened in 2002.

“For us to go on the road, I’m really proud of my teammates, proud of the offense, proud of the defense, special teams, the way that guys came out and fought for four quarters,” Campbell said. “I think it gives us every reason to lay down, but we didn’t because guys are playing with a lot of heart right now. You want to see that, especially late in the season when playoff hopes are gone.”

While acknowledging the difficulty of losing to the Patriots by allowing 13 unanswered points in the final 61 seconds of play, Campbell said he believes the team is “improving.”

“We’re building something,” Campbell said. “It’s upsetting that we weren’t able to finish some of these games, but at the same time, you take the positive things out of it and let’s just continue to grow, whether it’s offense, defense or special teams. There’s a lot guys that have been nicked up and guys you’ve had to plug in and play.

“We’re getting a chance to see where we’re at. The real test of a team is when the odds are against you. The playoff hopes are gone, but what’s deep down inside of us? We’re going to continue to fight hard for the next three games and see where we’re at, where we can improve.”

And it is that fight that he saw against New England that gives Campbell confidence heading into Sunday’s home finale against the Chicago Bears.

“You always try to play this game with confidence,” Campbell said. “Every game’s not the same. You just want to make sure you’re doing your best. I feel comfortable with the guys around me. I feel like guys are fighting their butts off.

“You’re watching Josh (Gordon) have one of the most exciting seasons I’ve seen in NFL history, so there’s a lot of positives. Even though our record’s 4-9, there’s a lot of positives to take out of this season.”