ATLANTA, GA– On the field, Calais Campbell is a warrior. The Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end is so often punishing opponents with his speed and physicality, whether it’s stopping the run or getting after the quarterback.
But at the annual Super Bowl Breakfast, Campbell would receive his greatest honor to date. His community leadership both on and off the field earned him the illustrious Bart Starr Award. For the 32-year-old, four-time Pro Bowler, this accolade is one of the highest achievements of his career.
“This is a true honor,” said Campbell when receiving this award. “I’m at a loss of words to receive an award with Bart Starr’s name on it.”
Calais Campbell Given Bart Starr Award
Campbell’s Philanthropy Stems from Upbringing
Calais Campbell’s accomplishments on the football field are well known. He spent nine years with the Arizona Cardinals, before signing a four-year, $60 million contract with the Jaguars. A four-time Pro Bowler and selections to the First-Team All-Pro and PFWA Defensive Player of the Year in 2017 make Campbell an irreplaceable defensive end.
But Campbell’s willingness and passion for altruistic endeavors was inspired from his childhood. He credits his mom for teaching the importance of helping the community, particularly those individuals who are underprivileged.
“My mom got me where I am today,” states Campbell. “She taught me the importance of giving and family. When we work together as one unit, we can help so many people.”
When Calais’s father, Charles, died in 2003, the defensive end established the Charles Richard Campbell (CRC) foundation in his honor. He believed that community activism and teaching important life skills to young people was crucial in allowing them to overcome adversity and become a productive member of society.
Through the CRC foundation, Calais benevolent initiatives not only help children and families in need but keep the legacy of his father alive. In both Phoenix and Jacksonville, Campbell established the Cheer for a Cause campaign, to get fans motivated to give back to the community. Each year, Calais hosts underprivileged families at Christmas time, providing meals and toys for the young ones. Most importantly, the CRC Scholarship provides a young individual the opportunity to attend a four-year college, regardless of financial barriers.
“Through my foundation, it provides me with a platform for change,” says Campbell. “When I go to a school, I see that kids are engaged and want to be successful. Being an NFL player comes with many great privileges, most importantly being able to provide and help kids that are in need.”
Campbell Joins Historic List of Players Carrying Bart Starr’s Legacy
With Calais Campbell being the newest member of the Bart Starr Award club, he adds to the enduring legacy of the Hall of Fame Green Bay Packers quarterback. Starr’s accomplishments as a Packer were historical and hard to replicate. A five-time NFL champion and two-time Super Bowl winner, Starr’s prolific play at quarterback exuded the stuff of legends. His postseason passer rating of 104.8 has never been broken.
But Starr recognized that football was more than just a team game. As a player, there are responsibilities that have to be obligated off the field. Help your family. Be an advocate for social issues. Give back to the community. Bart Starr possessed all these qualities, exemplifying the ultimate community leader.
Four years ago, Bart Starr suffered a near-fatal stroke. The former star quarterback who could complete any athletic task now needs assistance walking and remembering things. But as his son Bart Starr Jr. alluded to at the Super Bowl Breakfast, it was his father’s steadfast faith and belief in helping the community that got him through any of the health challenges he faces.
“My dad continues to be inspired by helping young people,” says Starr Jr. “Whenever he visits Green Bay, he is so receptive and humbled when children come up to talk with him. Because of his philanthropic endeavors, it inspires people like Calais and other football players to follow in a similar path.”
Former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy, who presented Calais Campbell with the Bart Starr Award, continues to feel inspired every time he attends the Super Bowl breakfast.
“I came to the Breakfast when Trent Dilfer and Peyton Manning, two quarterbacks I had coached, won this award,” recalls Dungy. “Because of the great things Bart did, I always instilled in my players the goal of serving the community and making it a better place for everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status.”
For Campbell, he hopes to bring his Jaguars back into the playoffs after a disappointing. But his devotedness to helping the community remains his focus now. Given the impact his charitable efforts have had in Jacksonville and Phoenix, there is no one more deserving of carrying the Bart Starr legacy than Calais Campbell.
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