Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell plans to return for a 16th NFL season, he announced Sunday, ending speculation that he might retire one sack short of his career goal of 100.
“I’m coming back, baby,” Campbell said at the end of a guest stint on NFL Network’s Super Bowl coverage.
The 36-year-old was again one of the Ravens’ most consistent defenders in 2022, finishing with 36 tackles, 5 1/2 sacks and 14 quarterback hits in 14 games. He’s under contract for 2023 but would cost $9.44 million against the cap, meaning the Ravens might look to restructure his deal as they try to make room to pay quarterback Lamar Jackson. If they cut Campbell, they would save $7 million, but he’s one of their most respected players and would still project as a key starter on the defensive line if he’s on the roster next season.
Campbell has made six Pro Bowls and was named Walter Payton Man of the Year after the 2019 season, his last with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Ravens traded a fifth-round pick to add him to their defense for the 2020 season and signed him to a two-year extension before last season.
Campbell was noncommittal about his playing future the day after the Ravens’ season-ending playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
“I don’t think it would be wise to decide so quickly,” he said. “I think you have to go through a process. So, I’m going to give myself a few weeks to kind of go through that process and decide after that. This is definitely … It’s going to be hard to walk away, that’s for sure.”
Later that week, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said he had spoken with Campbell and fellow veteran Justin Houston about possible returns in 2023 but declined to offer details. “Those are the kind of guys you want to have on your team, those veteran presences who play well and really back it up by how they play,” DeCosta said.