The Atlanta Falcons placed defensive lineman Calais Campbell on the Non-Football Injury list on Tuesday. However, there doesn’t seem to be any concern about his availability to start the season.
Campbell was available to the media for questions on Tuesday. The subject of quarterbacks came up. He was asked about disrespect and the protection given to the game’s most high-profile position.
“Philip Rivers used to be a trash talker and stuff, but he was never disrespectful,” said Campbell when asked about trash-talking quarterbacks. “Mac Jones actually, he was kind of disrespectful.”
Campbell made a surprised face when he said Jones’s name. Why the surprise? Jones was a second-year, 24-year old player when he faced Campbell’s Baltimore Ravens last season. Campbell was a 15-year veteran with six Pro Bowls to his name.
He was asked about the Netflix series “Quarterback” and taking it a bit easier on quarterbacks who were more sportsman-like.
“Honestly though, Patrick Mahomes is the face of the league. They’re (officials) gonna protect him like they protected Tom Brady; it’s just how it goes,” said Campbell. “You’ve gotta be careful. I don’t want to hurt the team. I don’t want to ever get penalties.”
As a first-year Falcons’ player, Campbell wasn’t aware of Grady Jarrett getting jobbed by the officials against Brady last year.
When he was made aware, Campbell wasn’t surprised.
“See, you guys know very well then,” Campbell said with a laugh. “There’s certain guys, you can’t tackle them too hard. I don’t know how many sacks I got called back in my career. Way more than it should be though.”
“You don’t want to hurt the team; you don’t want to hurt yourself. Tackle the quarterback within the rules, but certain guys you have to make sure you’re overemphasizing the rules.”
“You Still gotta hit ’em though.”
Campbell has done his share of hitting the quarterback in his career. He has 99 sacks including 5.5 on just 550 snaps last season. For reference, Lorenzo Carter had four sacks on 909 snaps with the Falcons in 2022.
The Falcons brought Calais Campbell to Atlanta to improve an anemic pass rush and provide leadership to a relatively young team. The Falcons are lucky to have him this year, and he won’t have to worry about handling the retired Tom Brady with kid gloves twice this season.