Bears quarterback Jason Campbell didn’t like how things ended in Oakland, after he got the Raiders off to a 4-2 start last season.
While he was sidelined with a broken collarbone, the Raiders traded a pair of picks (a first and a second) for Carson Palmer, who closed out the rest of the season.
Now, he’ll return to the Bay area for a Monday night game against the San Francisco 49ers, and he’ll start for the Bears.
“You definitely don’t want to see anyone get hurt or injured in this business. You understand that because it is a tough sport, sometimes things like that happen,” Campbell said. “It’s my first time starting since Oct. , I think, last year, when I broke my collarbone. And it’ll be going back to the Bay Area.
“It feels good to have an opportunity to get back in there and play.”
Of course Campbell wasn’t rooting for Cutler, who was ruled out today with a concussion, to get injured.
But Campbell believes he got a raw deal in Oakland, and he wants to prove that he’s still an NFL starting quarterback.
He sure didn’t look like a comfortable backup last week.
Other than a 45-yard completion to Brandon Marshall, Campbell hit checkdown after checkdown, finishing 11 of 19 for 94 yards.
This week, though, he got all the starter’s reps.
“You’re sitting on the sideline, cold, rainy, muddy, and all of the sudden you got to go in there in a quick second and play. Last week’s game was good for me, knowing that I have to play this week to get those reps against a really good defense in Houston and get your feet wet and get it back going again,” he said. “To have those reps in the second half were really huge.”
Campbell clearly is excited, and he rattled off a series of cliches to punctuate that.
“It’s been a tough situation, but at the same time, this is what we do. This is part of our lives and you have to go out there and take the bull by the horns and look at the opportunity and go out and play,” he said. “You can’t worry about trying to please everyone. You just got to play your game because everyone knows if you haven’t played in a while, of course you’re not going to be up here like a Peyton Manning or anything.
“But you just got to do what you do and try to do it to the best of your ability. Jay is good at what Jay do and I’m good at things that I do. And that’s the way I have to play the game.”
The Bears, though, are counting on Campbell to reinforce why they paid him a healthy $3.5 million this season to serve as Cutler’s backup. In the seven games Cutler’s missed since joining this franchise, the Bears are 2-5, with one of those wins coming despite Todd Collins throwing four interceptions.
They expect a lot of out of you because this is the reason they tried to bring you here as a backup. I understand I’m going to play as hard as I can. I’ve been staying up all night and days studying film and making sure I can catch up for the time that’s been lost,” Campbell said. “You know you can’t get all that time back but try to mentally know exactly what you’re doing and let your physical attributes take over when it’s available.”