We don’t really interview athletes here, and I think the last athlete interview I conducted at all was for Sports Bloggers Live. That show ended four years ago, so pardon the rust.
Also pardon the fact that I botched this recording, so there’s no audio, and some of the answers aren’t relayed in full. I can only type so fast, even if I took typing class in high school. Please do trust, however, that I talked to Jason Campbell and haven’t misrepresented any of his answers here.
Looking at the archives, we’ve made 38 blog posts about Mr. Campbell, many of them contentious and therefore hotly debated. This is the 39th.
Mr. Irrelevant: First, as someone who has been called a Jason Campbell apologist, I’d just like to say, on behalf of the Redskins organization and many of its fans, I’m sorry.
Jason Campbell: Appreciate it. (laughter)
Mr. Irrelevant: Do you think you got a fair shake in Washington?
Jason Campell: No, I don’t. Just because the fact that last season I put up really good numbers, and my star running back was out. Clinton Portis was out for most of the season. Then Ladell Betts came in and got hurt. We lost Chris Samuels. We lost our right guard and our right tackle.
So you’re still out there fighting hard in every game … (something I didn’t pick up) … and there were a lot of close games we should’ve won.
The fact that I was the scapegoat for all of that, it really stung a little bit. It was tough.
Mr. Irrelevant: Does your relative success in Oakland (8-5 record in games played) heal those wounds?
Jason Campbell: I just looked at it as a new opportunity. I felt like going there and trying to turn it around. An 8-8 record, undefeated in the division, we did turn the organization in the right direction.
(He talks a little more about Oakland here, but I couldn’t type fast enough, and I don’t think it was all that interesting for Redskins fans.)
Mr. Irrelevant: Even though Donovan McNabb faced a lot of the same obstacles that you did, were you surprised that he struggled so much this season?
Jason Campbell: In the blink of an eye you’ve got to change everything. And it makes it tougher that he went to a team within the division. You’ve got to learn a whole new offense, new players, get used to everyone. It’s not an easy transition.
(Again, I couldn’t type fast enough, and it wasn’t all that interesting. I blame the interviewer.)
Mr. Irrelevant: Raiders head coach Tom Cable is out, but it looks like offensive coordinator Hue Jackson will be back. Considering that constant scheme changes have marred your pro and college careers, how important is that?
Jason Campbell: Very important. Moreso for our offense, which is probably the youngest offense in the NFL. We have a lot of young guys, and we made big strides this year.
(He talks a bit more about the Raiders here, but I just couldn’t keep up. Here’s where it got really interesting though.)
That’s the thing that stung me the most. I was always trying to put my heart into everything [the Redskins] did. The owner or whatever it was, the owner was always pointing the finger at me. It was always like people were out to get me.
(I really should’ve followed up on that. Damn it.)
Mr. Irrelevant: Now you’re free of Daniel Snyder, but you’ve still got Al Davis to deal with. What are the big differences between playing in Oakland vs. playing in Washington?
Jason Campbell: The biggest difference is the hunger the guys [in Oakland] had this year.
(I’ll be honest, this answer went on for awhile and was probably interesting, but I was too busy trying to type and think of the next question. Again, I blame the interviewer.)
Mr. Irrelevant: SI.com’s mock draft has Cam Newton going No. 10 to the Redskins. Should he live in fear of that actually happening?
Jason Campbell: I think it’s a great opportunity wherever you’re being drafted. No matter what team you go to there’s a chance to play a game you’ve always dreamed of playing. It may work out better for him than it did for me. He may find more stability there than I did.
I appreciated the Redskins drafting me. It’s a great city.
Mr. Irrelevant: Speaking of Newton and Auburn, how much do you despise the BCS? (Note: Campbell’s undefeated, SEC champ 2004 Auburn team was left out of the national championship.)
Jason Campbell: At least find a way to have a four- or eight-team playoff. We’re the only college sport that doesn’t have that.
And you never know how we would’ve matched up against SC that year. There will always be questions.
Mr. Irrelevant: So what are you doing with Taco Bell?
Jason Campbell: (Just read the press release. The wrapper and package folding into a paper football and paper football field sounds pretty cool.)
Mr. Irrelevant: Now that you’re out in the Bay Area, are you hooked on In-N-Out?
Jason Campbell: One thing I’d never heard of was In-N-Out, so I had to go taste it, and I see why people are all over In-N-Out.
Mr. Irrelevant: Have you had Five Guys though? Can In-N-Out stack up to Five Guys?
Jason Campbell: Oh, I’ve had Five Guys. It’s different. People say, “A burger is a burger,” but that’s just not true.
Mr. Irrelevant: Well, thanks for your time, Jason, and thank you for handling yourself so well in D.C. You were dealt a shitty hand, but you made the most of it. Best of luck, man.
Jason Campbell: Appreciate it. Thanks, man.