Posted in Hot Take of the Week

Is Calais Campbell destined for the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

By Chris Schisler

It has been reported that Baltimore Ravens defensive end, Calais Campbell may retire after the 2021 season. This begs the question, is he a future Hall of Fame inductee?

Campbell made his mark in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals. He played in Arizona for nine seasons, though he has his best statistical years with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Calais Campbell has the credentials

Campbell comes into the 2021 season with 92 career sacks. This puts him at 49th on the all-time sack leader rankings. With eight sacks he can get to the 100 marker. That would tie him with Andrew Tippett and put him right behind Cameron Wake, J.J. Watt, and Charles Haly.

Eight sacks is a very possible for Campbell, a player who has had eight sacks or more in four different seasons. 100 sacks would give Campbell an argument. But he’s a defensive end, not a 3-4 outside linebacker. It’s not all about the sack count.

Campbell is uniquely gifted. He’s 6-8 with the thickness of Haloti Ngata. He’s an edge rusher and a defensive tackle put together. At his peaks, he was one of the most disruptive front seven players of all time and he’s always been an upper-echelon player at his position.

Campbell has the things you can’t coach. He was flat out born to play football. He has the whole toolset. Special players come around when those traits meet the right person. Campbell is one of the hardest workers in the NFL.

He’s been to six Pro Bowls. He was a first-team All-Pro in 2017 and a second-team All-Pro in 2014 and 2016. Off the field, he does a lot of good as well. That’s why he won the Walter Payton Man of The Year Award in 2019.

Getting past the logjam

Because he was consistently good through his long career, and he’s been such a fan favorite at every stop, he has a chance at bring enshrined in Canton. He may not be a first ballot inductee, but it’s hard to imagine that with one more solid season he’s left out of pro football’s sacred hall.

There’s a logjam at his position, and he’s never been the clear number one guy. He’s great but it’s not like Ray Lewis or Ed Reed where he defined what the G.O.A.T. at his position should be. Remember, Ngata is still waiting to get in. It’s not easy to make the Hall if Fame and for a lot of these stars it’s a waiting game.

Campbell is just all around special. If it weren’t for injuries he could have had a monster 2020 season to introduce himself to Baltimore. If this upcoming season is the end of his incredible journey in the NFL, he has a chance for a fitting ending.

The one accomplishment that eludes Campbell is a Super Bowl ring. He came so close with the Arizona Cardinals when Kurt Warner was the Arizona field general. He played in an AFC championship game against the New England Patriots with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He’s come close to the ultimate prize twice. The Baltimore Ravens are contenders, and a Super Bowl would be his storybook finish come true.

The Bottom Line:

Having a great season at the end will help his case for enshrinement. With Campbell you have to at least have the discussion. He’s put himself in solid position and people (especially hall of fame voters) tend to remember the end more than anything. John Elway’s Super Bowl record for example is hardly put into question, the important thing is he won the last two and walked into the sunset.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens X-Factors for 2021 season

Being the leader of a Super Bowl team could be the last boost Campbell needs to secure a gold jacket. Let’s hope for Baltimore, Maryland, and Calais Campbell that is how the storybook career ends.