Jaguars Calais Campbell says faith, giving back is what is most important to him

On Sunday, the Jaguars will travel to New England as heavy underdogs in their quest to reach their first ever Super Bowl. But don’t let that stop you from thinking that Jacksonville doesn’t have a chance in this game. They’ve played 2 playoff games thus far and have won each of them in distinctively different ways. The defense catapulted them to a 10-3 win over Buffalo in the Wild Card round, and their offense exploded in Pittsburgh to upset the Steelers 45-42.

One of the reasons for the resurgence of the Jaguars this year is veteran defensive lineman Calais Campbell, who was named 2017 Defensive Player of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).

Campbell signed a 4-year, $60 million free agent deal with Jacksonville in March of 2017. Many considered that a surprising move, given the struggles the Jags have had to win games over the past decade. But Campbell proved his decision was the right one with a career-high 14.5 sacks in helping the Jaguars become the best defensive team in the AFC, winning 10 games and the AFC South title.

Off the field, Campbell is heavily involved in charity work with his CRC foundation serving families and children. He’s also a follower of Jesus Christ and shared with Cornerstone Church back in April of 2017 why his faith is important to him.

“I grew up in the church. My parents were very adamant about going to church, hearing the word, knowing the word,” Campbell said. “I remember back in high school, you start thinking for yourself. I believed from Day 1 that what my parents were talking about was true. I think in high school was where I started praying, communicating with God on the regular, talking, communicating with God everyday. Just small conversations.”

Campbell told senior pastor Linn Winters a prayer that his mother taught him when he was younger is something he still recites today when adversity comes at him.

RELATEDMore on Jaguars legend Tony BoselliMore on Patriots Matthew Slater

“I remember I heard a noise in my house one time when I was scared, and my mom told me ‘as long as you say the blood of Jesus, the blood of Jesus, you can never be hurt, never be harmed. So still to this day, if things go wrong, or if I’m out of control, I just whisper to myself ‘The blood of Jesus, I’m covered by the blood of Jesus’ and I just know everything is going to be ok.”

Campbell says having success as an NFL player is about using that platform to give back, to influence and to help others.

“I want to support the fans that support me, and empower them to give back to the community where it is important to them,” Campbell told Jaguars.com in October. “Together, we can make a difference, every game.”

The 3-time pro bowler will take his talents to Foxboro, MA on Sunday and try to dethrone the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots at their place. Campbell knows where those talents come from and why it is vital to recognize who Jesus is and what He has done for us.

“It’s simple for me. I know I wouldn’t be where I’m at if Jesus didn’t give me the opportunities, the many blessings that He’s given me,” Campbell said. “I ask myself all the time, ‘why did God choose me to be very successful?’ I know that He has big plans for my life that are much bigger than football, much bigger than money and everything else.”

Calais’ CRC Foundation is committed to the enhancement of our community through the teaching of critical life skills to young people. Through sports, creative talents, vocational skills, financial skills, and quality health and nutrition, the CRC Foundation helps develop young people into empowered and self-aware leaders for the future. You can learn more at http://thecrcfoundation.org/.

The Jaguars and Patriots kickoff in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on CBS. 

Related links:
Download the Football Sunday edition of Sports Spectrum Magazine
Minneapolis hosting 33 days of prayer in preparation for Super Bowl
Eagles QB Carson Wentz after suffering knee injury: ‘God has a perfect plan’
Former Jaguars RB Rashad Jennings retires