Jason Campbell emerged from a tumultuous tenure with Auburn as one of the most accomplished and feared college quarterbacks in the country.
But what seemed like the turning of a corner during an unbeaten 2004 season, which garnered Campbell the SEC Offensive Player of the Year award, actually was arguably the high point of his football career.
After enduring multiple offensive coordinators and schematic changes at the college level, Campbell blossomed into a first-round draft pick during the 2005 NFL Draft. The Washington Redskins selected him with the No. 25 overall pick.
And then the uphill climb seemingly became steeper.
Campbell, who retired after the 2014 season, recently spoke with Deron Snyder of the Washington Times and reflected on his time with the team. The consensus? It was a chaotic environment filled with a “whole bunch of crazy” — one that was seemingly unfit for a rookie quarterback and could have capped Campbell’s potential in the league.
In particular, he recalled one instance during his Redskins tenure when coach Jim Zorn promoted former NFL assistant Sherman Lewis to calling plays just weeks after pulling him out of retirement in 2009. Sherman last had coached in 2004, and he was brought on in the middle of the season.
“He didn’t even know all the plays,” Campbell said, per Snyder’s report. “It was just crazy. You could feel the animosity on the field. Lewis told me in all his years in football he had never seen a quarterback deal with so much chaos going on around him. It was a hard position for me to be in.”
Campbell exited Washington after five seasons with the team, but the uneven results there made it hard for him to obtain another opportunity to start.
He earned that chance with Oakland for a short while, and played for Chicago, Cleveland and Cincinnati before hanging things up for good.
“I just wonder if I stayed in one system, one team with one head coach and one coordinator, how far could I have gone,” Campbell said, per Snyder.
Campbell threw for 16,771 yards passing through his decade-long NFL career, connecting on 87 touchdown passes and completing 60.3 percent of his attempts.