Browns notebook: QB Jason Campbell ready for any role with new team

By Nate Ulrich and Ryan Lewis
Beacon Journal sports writers

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Cleveland Browns quarterback Jason Campbell takes a snap from Alex Mack during mini-camp at the team's training facility Wednesday in Berea. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
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BEREA: Two years ago, six weeks into the 2011 season, Jason Campbell was having one of the better years of his career. Then, against the Browns, of all teams, Campbell scrambled out of the pocket and was gang-tackled by Chris Gocong and Scott Fujita, breaking his collarbone.

He lay on the grass, looking up, and before he knew it, the Oakland Raiders had traded for Carson Palmer. Campbell was no longer their starting quarterback and his career had taken a turn for the worse. The Raiders were on their way to a 4-2 start when Campbell was hurt.

Campbell, 31, served in a backup role for the Chicago Bears last season and then signed with the Browns to push incumbent starter Brandon Weeden. The injury in Oakland taught him the harsh realities of the NFL.

“I was having the best season of my career,” Campbell said Wednesday after the second practice of voluntary minicamp. “To wake up and knowing there’s been a trade and I’m not starting anymore, it was a tough pill to swallow. But at the same time, it taught me a lot about the game and understanding there is a business side of it.

“You can’t get your emotions so caught up in the game that you forget to continue to compete and continue to push yourself and grow and grow. Sometimes life is about adversity. It’s always how you respond, not how you give in to it. … If you get down, you may miss your next opportunity. That’s always been my mindset.”

The Browns are his next opportunity. Campbell signed a two-year, $3.75 million contract in March, with $500,000 of it guaranteed.

It’s a team-friendly deal for a quarterback who’s expected to light a fire under Weeden, and should he falter, be able to take control.

Campbell, who has a career record of 31-40 as a starter, sounds as if he’ll accept whatever role he’s given.

“My role, I have to adapt to change,” he said. “Having to do that in my past has prepared me. There are things you can’t control. I’ve learned not to worry about those things but worry about how can I get better as a player and what I can do more to help my teammates. It’s not about you in his business. It’s about the team.”

A Little excited

Wide receiver Greg Little is already excited to get to work in new coach Rob Chudzinski’s offense.

Little tweeted that the system is a “wide receiver’s dream” on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he elaborated, saying he’s taken a liking to how the focus is on the receivers getting downfield.

When asked if it feels like he’s trying for a home run play every snap, Little lit up.

“Yeah, [offensive coordinator Norv Turner] definitely coaches it like that,” Little said. “He’s so meticulous about it to where when the ball is snapped, he wants you to take a step as the ball is snapped, not when Brandon is in his drop. He’s coaching it to ‘go.’ ”

Little said he and receiver Josh Gordon spent time together during the offseason, working out and trying to build a better relationship. Little thinks they complement each other well, but wouldn’t concede who’s faster.

“We’ve had this talk,” he said. “We haven’t raced or anything. I don’t know, man.”

Potential victim

Yahoo Sports reported Browns cornerback Joe Haden is one of several professional athletes who purchased promissory notes from an investment firm called Success Trade, which the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ordered to halt fundraising last week after it allegedly sold $18 million in fraudulent and unregistered promissory notes to 58 persons.

Several athletes have either been contacted or been urged to contact investigators from the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the report.

Back from trip

Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson visited troops in the Middle East last month as part of the NFL-USO Tour and gained an appreciation for what they endure.

Jackson said sirens that signal missile attacks went off while he slept at a camp. Luckily, it was a false alarm.

“Thank goodness it was a false alarm,” Jackson said. “It was reality in the face. It was no joke.”

Jackson enjoyed spending time with military personnel.

“Just to be around those guys, just to hear their personal stories … it was definitely amazing,” he said.

Extra points

As expected, left guard Jason Pinkston and wide receiver David Nelson continued to sit out practice Wednesday. Pinkston (blood clot in lung) and Nelson (torn anterior cruciate ligament) are continuing to rehabilitate after their 2012 seasons were cut short. … Former Browns left tackle Dick Schafrath is scheduled to announce the team’s third-round draft pick on April 26, according to the NFL. If the Browns acquire a second-round selection via a trade, Schafrath would announce that pick, too. … The Browns have $33.46 million in salary-cap space, the most in the league, Adam Caplan of TheSidelineView.com reported. … Former Browns Pro Bowl return man Josh Cribbs is scheduled to re-take a physical with the Arizona Cardinals in a few weeks, Alex Marvez of FoxSports.com reported. Last month at the NFL owners meeting, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said he wants to sign Cribbs, provided he’s healthy after undergoing knee surgery this offseason. … The Browns are scheduled to conduct a private workout with Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel on Saturday in Tallahassee, Fla., the Plain Dealer reported. The Browns hosted Manuel during a pre-draft visit Monday. They were originally set to work him out April 5, but had to reschedule.

Nate Ulrich can be reached at nulrich@thebeaconjournal.com.


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