Trust unlocked De’Vondre Campbell’s All-Pro potential with Packers

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Packers linebacker De’Vondre Campbell said it was a “dream come true” to return to Green Bay after an All-Pro season. Campbell cashed in with his first big contract since entering the league in 2016 when he signed a five-year deal worth $50 million at the start of free agency. Last season, Campbell led the Packers with 146 tackles and added two interceptions and two sacks in 16 starts.

“Finally found an organization that saw my skillset and realized what I can bring to the team for years to come,” Campbell said Wednesday.

Campbell talked about how good it was to have some security again after spending one season with the Arizona Cardinals. After starting 16 games for the Cardinals in 2020, Campbell remained a free agent until June of the following offseason. No one thought much of it when the Packers then reached a one-year deal with the former the fourth-round pick, who was expected to compete for snaps at a weak spot on the defense.

As the season progressed, Campbell emerged as an impactful starter who had revitalized a once dormant position in Green Bay. On Wednesday, Campbell provided some insight as to why he was more successful with the Packers, which entails making his intentions clear before even arriving.

“The only way I’ll come is if you let me do this and only this,” Campbell said he told Green Bay. “I don’t want to play SAM, MIKE, and WILL.”

As a member of the Cardinals and during his four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, Campbell was asked to do a lot. Instead of predominately being a downhill linebacker, he was asked to cover running backs, tight ends, and receivers for large portions of the game.

“I was playing so many different positions to the point where people didn’t know what I was good at,” Campbell said.

Campbell wanted to be a MIKE, and the Packers kept their promise of giving the player what he wanted. According to Pro Football Focus, Campbell played a saw a career-high in snaps as a true inside linebacker.

“They showed a trust factor, and the results were what we got,” he said.

Campbell produced the first first-team All-Pro season by a Green Bay inside linebacker since Ray Nitschke back in 1966. The Packers are thrilled to have another difference-maker on defense and their inside linebacker position secure for the foreseeable future.

Campbell plans to prove that his breakout year was not a fluke now that he is in the right situation.

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