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Campbell focuses on 'exciting opportunity' with Browns

Posted Mar 28, 2013

Quarterback Jason Campbell is excited to add his NFL experience to a young Browns team.

Veteran quarterback Jason Campbell chose to sign with the Cleveland Browns on Tuesday because of the chance to help a young team through a rebuilding period, become a leader on the field and in the locker room, and pass along his knowledge gained through eight previous NFL seasons.

Campbell expressed that joy in a conference call with the Cleveland media on Thursday afternoon.

“I thought it was an exciting opportunity to be joining a team that’s a young football team,” Campbell said. “It kind of reminded me of when I went to Oakland. They were a young football team at the time, and they were trying to get things turned around. It’s just something I want to be a part of.

“I like the offensive coordinator, Norv Turner; I like the head coach, Coach Chud (Rob Chudzinski). I think Mr. Joe Banner and those guys are on board with getting things in order. They’re trying to get things turned around, and I just feel like it’s something I want to be a part of and help in any way possible in whatever role.”

Having the opportunity to compete alongside second-year running back Trent Richardson and throw to a young corps of wide receivers and tight ends was another selling point to Campbell.

As a rookie in 2012, Richardson ran for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns on 267 carries. In addition to his impact in the running game, Richardson caught the second-most passes on the team (51), which he turned into 367 yards and highlight-reel 23-yard touchdown at the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 16.

Josh Gordon finished with a team-best 805 yards and five touchdowns on 50 catches, after not having an offseason because he was chosen in July’s Supplemental Draft. Then second-year wideout Greg Little caught a team-leading 53 receptions for 647 yards and four scores in 2012.

“Trent Richardson, he’s a tremendous talent,” Campbell said. “Just watching him when he was playing at Alabama for Coach (Nick) Saban and the way he runs in Cleveland, he’s in a division that’s very physical. You need that kind of presence; you need that kind of running back, and I think he adds a great dimension. I think he’s a great asset to have as a quarterback.

“It’s a young receiving corps. Knowing Coach Turner and Coach Chud, they’re going to do a good job of putting guys in positions to win their one-on-one battles, create separation.”

Campbell was also intrigued by the additions of tight ends Kellen Davis and Gary Barnidge through free-agency earlier this month.

“Kellen Davis, he’s a big, physical guy, and he’s really good in run-blocking,” Campbell said. “He’s a really good possession receiver. He’s a tall guy and you can kind of see him over the field. The kid from Carolina, the young guy that came over with Coach Chud, he’s got good skills. He’s got good speed for a tight end and can make things happen.”

GAINING EXPERIENCE

In eight previous seasons, Campbell, a former first-round pick out of Auburn University, has played for the Washington Redskins (2005-09), Oakland Raiders (2010-11), and Chicago Bears (2012). He has completed 1,328 of 2,182 attempts (60.9 percent) for 14,682 yards and 76 touchdowns against 52 interceptions. In 2009, Campbell had his best year as a professional, when he completed 327 of 507 attempts for 3,618 yards and 20 touchdowns.

By playing for the Redskins and Raiders earlier in his career, Campbell said he gained experience with the type of system the Browns hope to run under Chudzinski and Turner.

“There’s going to be a lot of new things, different words, but it means the same thing and may be called something different here,” Campbell said. “I know how tough it is in this league to go from transition to transition where you always feel like you’re re-learning and are never able to just go out there and play. This presents an opportunity for me to at least be familiar with the offense that I ran before at least a couple times during my career.”

MENTORING WEEDEN

In addition to adding his playing experience to a young roster, Campbell hopes to serve as a mentor to second-year Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden. As a first-year professional, Weeden completed 297 of 517 attempts for a Browns rookie record of 3,385 yards and 14 touchdowns with 17 interceptions.

“I’m going to show him some ins and outs, leadership qualities, and just continue to try and help him along the way to get better as a player in every possible way,” Campbell said. “That’s the same thing I say to myself. We’ve got two good offensive coaches, and the only thing you try to do is improve your game and grow. You want to get better from one season to the next season and keep progressing in a positive direction. I’m willing to help him. He’s older in age, but still young in the league. There’s some things I can talk to him about and help him with.”

CREATING A CULTURE

By going through the rebuilding process in both Washington and Oakland, Campbell knows the most important thing for players to do is show up to work with the same, consistent effort every day.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” Campbell said. “In order to turn things around, first of all, it starts with your attitude and a mindset, believing that you can turn things around, believing that you can win ballgames and compete. When you talk about competing, that means you’ve got to put that effort in; you’ve got to put that work in. Practicing at a fast tempo, bringing energy to practice, and trying to carry that over to Sundays. It’s going to be a process, but everyone’s got to be on the same page, and everyone’s got to be willing to try to achieve that same goal, and that’s to go out and win each and every Sunday.

“Coach hasn’t said anything or promised anything. We’re all just here to work to try and improve our football team. We’re going to go to work each and every day, all of us, and try to get better. Whatever my role is, I’m going to give 100 percent at it. I’m going to compete at 100 percent, and I’m going to help along the way.”

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