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The 'Other' Campbell Is Having a Solid Year

It's not simply that Khary Campbell isn't the most recognized Redskin. What's more, Khary isn't even the most recognized Campbell on the team. That distinction would have to go to promising young quarterback Jason Campbell.




Yet while Jason Campbell waited patiently over the first half of the season for his moment in the sun, Khary Campbell quietly made his share of plays as both a special teams leader and a reserve linebacker.

Campbell was outstanding versus Jacksonville with five special teams tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He led special teams with four tackles versus both Houston and Tennessee.

In addition, Campbell earned his first NFL start against Indianapolis--stepping in for the injured Lemar Marshall--and came up with seven tackles.

Not a bad stretch for the other Campbell on the roster.

Through seven games, he was leading the Redskins of 2006 in special teams tackles with 15, just ahead of Rocky McIntosh (12) and Mike Sellers (11).

Khary Campbell is in his fifth NFL season out of Bowling Green, where he played his senior year under Urban Meyer, now at Florida. Campbell led Danny Smith's special teams units with 34 tackles in 2005. That's why re-signing him in the past offseason was a priority for the Redskins.

"We have Khary back and that's important to us," head coach Joe Gibbs said when Campbell was retained in the offseason.

In 2005, he was instrumental in Redskins special teams being ranked No. 2 in the league in punt coverage and No. 6 in kickoff coverage.

Said the 6-3, 232-pound Campbell: "We always think punt or kickoff coverage is the first play in a defensive series."

Even though the Colts game this year was Campbell's first career start, he doesn't really think of it that way. The Redskins consider their key special team players as starters.

"If you start on special teams, then you are a starter," said Campbell. "You're expected to perform as a starter."

Over the course of the first two months of the 2006 season, his biggest play came in the 36-30 overtime win against Jacksonville at FedExField.

With the Redskins trailing 17-10 with just over a minute to go in the first half, Campbell not only forced Jaguar returner Alvin Pearman to fumble with a hard hit but he also jumped on the ball. The turnover allowed the Redskins to kick a field goal that turned out to be crucial.

On the down side, Campbell was among those players who possibly could have helped prevent the blocked punt by Tennessee's Casey Cramer in the Titans' 25-22 upset win at FedExField on Week 6.

Overall, at this point in his career Campbell understands special teams play takes more than individual effort.

"We all need each other out there on special teams. It's not one guy who is making the plays alone," he maintains.

In his first year as a Redskin, 2004, Campbell played nine games but suffered a torn ACL in his left knee and was placed on injured reserve.

Bouncing back from the injury in 2005, Campbell twice--against San Francisco and San Diego--had five special teams stops.

His spirited comeback last year earned him the Ed Block Courage Award. The annual award is given by all NFL clubs to the player who perseveres in his attempt to work his way back from injury.

Earlier in his NFL career, Campbell had a brief stint with the Cowboys' practice squad before joining the New York Jets in 2002-03.

Three years later, Campbell, who grew up in the Toledo, Ohio, area, has established himself as a special teams leader and as a capable complementary player in the Redskins' defense.

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