ATLANTA – In his 11 years in the NFL Calais Campbell has been to 4 Pro Bowls, a Super Bowl, has been named an All-Pro and won the defensive player of the year award, but he says being the 2019 recipient of the Bart Starr Award is extra special.”
“There are so many guys out there that I admire that have hoisted this trophy,” Campbell said. “Just to be mentioned in the same breath as those guys is an honor. Knowing that my peers are the ones who voted for me, saying that I deserve this that really means a lot because I try to do things the right way.”
The Bart Starr Award is presented to the NFL player who “best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field, and in the community." The Jaguars defensive lineman was presented the award by former Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Tony Dungy. Dungy said that he knew plenty about Campbell on the field and was extremely happy to get to know the man of the field this week.
“I know him well on the field but I didn’t know much him as a person, as a man, Dungy said. “I’m learning in these last few days as the award winner, it’s been sensational to see his heart and what he cares about. The first speech I gave to the team when I got the Tampa Bay Buccaneers job was, we want to win, win with class, win with dignity, do things the right way and make your community a better place to live and he exemplifies all of that.”
It is through Campbell’s CRC Foundation, named after his late father Charles, that he does his community outreach. In his speech in front of more than 1,500 people on hand for the Super Bowl Breakfast, Campbell was very thankful that his mother and five of his siblings could be there to share in this award. However, it is his father that Campbell hopes is most proud.
“He always said the kind of man you are is most important. Having integrity, having respect, those are the true values you have to hold dear. To be able to win an award like this, I just know my dad is smiling down at me right now. I get chills down my back just thinking about it,” said Campbell.
In past years in Arizona and now in Jacksonville, Campbell has supported everything from free math and science camps to shopping with him for Christmas. But Campbell says in 2019 he has something different to focus on.
“One of things I am looking forward to doing this year is trying to get involved with mental health. I want to give kids a resource to express themselves and learn how to express themselves the right way. I feel that’s something we need to do a good job going forward especially in this day and age with social media. Just being able to give resources and help with putting therapists in position to really help these kids, just give them somebody to talk to.”