Calais Campbell on processing Hamlin injury trauma, Bengals and sack dances I The Rush

Ravens DE Calais Campbell joins The Rush to chat about processing the trauma of watching Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffer cardiac arrest during an NFL game, how Baltimore is game-planning for the Bengals in Week 18 and possibly the first weekend of the NFL Playoffs, how the chance at 100 regular season sacks is weighing on his decision to return from a knee injury in Week 18 and the proper etiquette of when to, and when not to do a sack dance. Plus, Calais explains how the new information that a hard hit to the chest could possibly cause cardiac arrest factors into his risk assessment of being an NFL player.

Video Transcript

CALAIS CAMPBELL: I never thought I can have my heart stopped by getting hit in the chest with a shoulder pad. That was different. And so that's new information that I haven't processed before. And so you have to process the risks. And then make a decision if you want to accept those risks or not. And if you can do things to combat the risk by playing with better technique or whatever it may be.

JARED QUAY: What's up, everybody. I'm here with the Ravens defensive end and my bigger brother, Calais Campbell. Calais, how are you doing today?

CALAIS CAMPBELL: I'm living the dream, baby.

JARED QUAY: We received good news that Damar Hamlin's medical team on Thursday, saying that the Bills safety is awake, communicating, and making progress in his recovery. My question to you is, what went through your mind as you were watching the Bills game. How did you feel seeing it?

CALAIS CAMPBELL: I was shocked. I was distraught a little bit. Just never seen anything like that before. I played football a long time, made plenty of tackles like that in my career. And I was just-- I was shook up a little bit. And I'm so happy to hear that he's making big strides. And it's looking like he's having full recovery. Because I said a whole lot of prayers.

I was nervous. I was scared for him. And it was just a big time though, just seeing the NFL, the doctors, the trainers, the people put lot of hours into being prepared so they can make sure that if something like this happened, they knew what to do, and they were ready for it. And they saved this man's life.

JARED QUAY: Did your first Ravens practice feel normal, or was it muted with people holding back a little?

CALAIS CAMPBELL: It really is something that you have to evaluate. And I really didn't know how I was going to feel until I went out in practice. And I will say that going through practice though, my instincts kicked in, and I had a very normal practice. I had a very normal practice. I didn't feel any different. Obviously, practices you're a little more protected.

I think the game will be a real big test, when it's a little more intense. Because in practice, everybody's kind of going through a brother-in-law type of speed, try to get each other ready. You don't really go out there trying to run through each other. So it's a little different. I think most players have to consciously process the risks and make sure they make a decision that you want to play through those risks.

JARED QUAY: Now we know that the Bills, Bengals game will not be resumed. As a player on another potential playoff team directly affected by the Bengals record, how's that sitting with you?

CALAIS CAMPBELL: At the end of the day, you can only control what you can control. It's unique circumstances. Whatever way we have to go about it, we will. If it's going on the road and playing as a sixth seed or a fifth seed, we'll do that. If they give us opportunity to have a chance at the three seed, we would greatly appreciate that.

But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter. If they give us opportunity though, if it's a coin flip or if they figure out a way to give us an opportunity, we would gladly take it and put us in the best position. But if they don't, then we understand. We get it. So [INAUDIBLE]. So we just roll with it, and go out there, and put the best football forward we can, and try to win a Super Bowl.

JARED QUAY: So your Ravens actually play the Bengals on Sunday in Cincinnati. And the weird thing is, it's a good possibility you might end up playing them the first week of the playoffs in Cincinnati. And if that's the case, how much of the playbook are you guys going to show, considering that you might need to pull out all the tricks again the next week?

CALAIS CAMPBELL: We don't know. At the end of the day, we want to get a win. And so if we get a win, I'm sure that based off of what information we get before the game, and if we have a chance to get a 3-seed, then we'll go out there and play everything. We won't hold back at all. It is what it is. We want to win a ball game. So we're going to do what we do.

JARED QUAY: You've been out for a few weeks now with a knee injury. But you are also one sack away from 100 career regular season sacks. How big of a motivation is that for you to play on Sunday?

CALAIS CAMPBELL: Because of my knee injury, and based off of what happens with the game that we could play for 3-seed or not, I kind of got to decide if I want to push through it and go play this week or not. And so we'll see how it goes.

But part of me decides if I feel like I got another chance to play again, then is it as big a deal to get? But if I feel like this might be it, then I think I got to go for it. But I don't know. We'll see.

JARED QUAY: Calais with 99 and a half sacks, man. You can't hang up the cleats with 99 and a half, man.

CALAIS CAMPBELL: One of my best friends, which you know is Josh, we had a real conversation. He said, if you had a choice and you could only get one, what's more important-- 100 sacks or a Super Bowl? And that was one of the questions. Wow, that's a real question. I would love to get both, but if I could only get one, I want the Super Bowl.

Something I just chased after and wanted so bad that if it came down to it, I'd rather be a Super Bowl champ now. The hard part is that there's no guarantees you could be a Super Bowl champ. You got to go out there and earn it.

JARED QUAY: Speaking of sacks though, Kayvon Thibodeaux got an excessive sack dance, while Nick Foles was down. I don't know if you've seen the clip of Nick Foles in pain, and Kayvon in the middle of a snow angel. As a defensive guy who sacks quarterbacks, how important is the sack dance? Should you make sure that the quarterback isn't injured before you engage in your baseball swing?

CALAIS CAMPBELL: I don't think that most D linemen are going to notice if the quarterbacks hurt or not. Unless you like felt him get hurt, which does happen. But usually you don't really know if a quarterback's hurt or not. And the sack dance is-- that's very important.

I give the young guys a hard time. I'm like, you got to figure out something. You can't just be out there just being excited. A sack dance is a part of the game. That's one of the most important part of being a D lineman is having a sack dance. Even if you're a nose tackle, you only get like 6 sacks in your year career, you gotta have a sack dance. You gotta make it count. But it is nice if you know the quarterback's not hurt. You don't want to do nothing crazy if the quarterback's hurt.

JARED QUAY: I don't know what the football season going to look like, but I'm really hoping you get that 100th sack this week. And let's win a Super Bowl too. You probably can do both of them, man. Thank you for rushing with me.

CALAIS CAMPBELL: We're here for the show, man. We win a Super Bowl, you'll be there. So if we're in the Super Bowl, you'll be there.

JARED QUAY: I love interviewing you, too, because it's like after the interview, I can call you be like, how you feel we did?

CALAIS CAMPBELL: You can work on this, you can work on that. I'm always critiquing. I'm big brother now.