Calais Campbell gives back on life-changing trip

Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell doesn't shy away from his upbringing in Denver, saying he was poor growing up with seven siblings.

Today he is the team's third-highest-paid player with his recently signed five-year, $55 million contract.

But he is more than just the multi-million dollar contract he commands, giving back as often as possible through his CRC Foundation, established in memory of his father, Charles Richard Campbell, who died in 2003 while waiting for a new liver.

Calais plans to build a development center in the next two years to teach kids life skills in Arizona.

In July, Campbell teamed up with Cardinals linebacker Sam Acho and Acho's father, Dr. Sonny Acho's Living Hope Ministries organization to assist in Acho's home country of Nigeria, carrying men and women who received surgery from the operating room to their hospital beds.

At 6 feet 8, 300 pounds, Campbell admits that some of the people he carried were heavy even for him and at times had a bit of a struggle with them in his arms.
"Man that was crazy," Campbell said. "I'm young so I haven't had the chance travel a lot but I want to see the world. It was one of my lifelong dreams to go to Africa. So when Acho asked me I hopped on board quick. I'm glad I went -- it was definitely an eye-opening and life-changing experience."

He said he will now try to help those in that country with his own foundation or donate to Living Hope Ministries to continue to give back to poverty-stricken areas in Nigeria.

Helping out on the field

Campbell finished the 2011 season with a team-high eight sacks, 72 tackles, and two forced fumbles.

He also blocked three field-goal attempts for a Cardinals team that had an NFL-high five, though he gives the credit to teammates and special teams coach Kevin Spencer for putting him in the right spot.

"Great team player, works hard (but) always is going to have things that he has to work on, especially being as tall as he is, staying low," Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "But he's a very good football player and I think he's a great teammate, guy will do anything he can to help contribute to the win."

"If that means playing special teams, or if he could play offense I'm sure he would try to do that but he's working very hard."

Cardinals fans shouldn't expect to see Campbell on the offensive side of the ball this season, but the fifth-year University of Miami standout feels that he still has room for improvement in his own game and hopes to help the Cardinals back to the playoffs after a two-year absence.

"I think I really want to concentrate on causing more turnovers," Campbell said. "That's an aspect of the game that, as a defense, we can improve on a whole lot. I think we can win more games if we can cause more turnovers so our turnover ratio is my number-one goal."

Constantly in his ear is fellow defensive end, 36-year-old Vonnie Holliday, whose advice Campbell soaks up like a sponge.

"To play with somebody with that kind of wisdom is awesome; he helps me out a lot," Campbell said. "We go through a lot of drills together. I think he watches pretty much everything I do because every time I come to the sideline he's giving me some pointers.

"But I really do appreciate it because he's just a wise guy, he's smart and he's played the game a long time. I try to take as much advice from him as I can get."

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