While Campbell will start on the physically unable to perform list, re-signing with the Packers was a step in the right direction. He spent the early portion of Saturday’s practice on the sideline doing leg exercises with a resistance band.
Campbell said he’s been running since April and feels confident in the knee. At this point, it’s mainly “waiting on science” and not risking a potential re-tear. Mentally, he never doubted his chances at mounting a comeback.
“I’ve never had any major injuries like this in terms of ACL but you deal with different things,” Campbell said. “All you can do is take it one day at a time, so that’s what I did. Tried to make the most of every day, build days upon days and you get somewhere.”
A fourth-round pick in 2015, Campbell is actually the oldest of the nine safeties on the Packers’ roster. Once he’s cleared, Campbell will be competing with five veterans with NFL experience to back up offseason addition Adrian Amos and rookie first-round pick Darnell Savage.
Working in Campbell’s favor is his past experience in Pettine’s scheme and positional flexibility. He not only filled in at deep safety in his three appearances last season, but he also took a few reps as a hybrid box safety in the dime package.
Campbell is no stranger to competing for a job, either, after spending time with the Browns (37 games), Texans (one game), Cowboys (four games) and Jets (one game) over the past few seasons. His maturity is something that quickly resonated with Pettine and the defensive coaching staff.
“He’s a consummate professional,” secondary coach Jason Simmons said. “He’s a veteran guy that’s been around. He doesn’t take anything for granted for the simple fact that he’s been on multiple teams and he realizes the opportunity and he looks to seize it every time he gets a chance.”
Campbell isn’t surprised to be back this soon. Once he’s back on the field, the fifth-year veteran expects to pick up right where he left off in Pettine’s defense.
“This isn’t a complicated game,” Campbell said. “A lot of times you get caught up over-complicating things. He’s a great coach. He has a great system. It was kind of familiar stepping back into it. I felt like I did well because of that.”