Former Ravens fan favorite almost chose retirement over joining AFC rival

His Ravens connections help lure him to his next destination.
Miami Dolphins v Baltimore Ravens
Miami Dolphins v Baltimore Ravens / Todd Olszewski/GettyImages

While the Baltimore Ravens ultimately chose to save their money on their defensive line after the Justin Madubuike contract dropped, the idea of reuniting with former Pro Bowl defensive lineman Calais Campbell on a cheap one-year deal could have been very attractive for team and player alike.

Ultimately, Campbell (a Miami alum) signed a one-year contract with the AFC rival Miami Dolphins. After his one-year stint with the Atlanta Falcons proved he still has plenty of gas left in the tank as he approaches age 38, Campbell could be just what the doctor ordered for Miami.

Campbell almost called time on a career that will likely send him to Canton once he is done with his playing days. Campbell confirmed that he discussed retirement with his family before signing with Miami. His Baltimore career may have been brief, but those three seasons show what a difference-maker he could be despite his advanced age.

Ravens fan favorite Calais Campbell almost retired before joining Dolphins

Campbell was likely influenced by the arrival of Anthony Weaver, as the former Ravens defensive line coach was named the defensive coordinator in Miami. If Weaver gets Campbell playing like he did in Baltimore, the Ravens could regret passing on the change to bring him back for cheap.

Campbell signed with Baltimore in 2020 following nine seasons as a perpetually underrated star with the Cardinals and three straight Pro Bowl seasons with the vaunted "Sacksonville" Jaguars defenses of the late 2010s. Campbell was a Pro Bowler in 2020, recording 11 sacks in three seasons while being one of the best run-stuffing defensive ends in the game.

Campbell played in all 17 games for the Falcons last year, recording 6.5 sacks. Instead of bringing Campbell back, the Ravens retained veteran run-stuffer Brent Urban on a one-year contract and drafted a speed rusher in Adisa Isaac during the NFL Draft. This season will tell if Baltimore going cheap in this area will come back to bite them.

Everyone who has played alongside Campbell has nothing but positive things to say about him as a performer, leader, and community outreach philanthropist. Campbell will go from friend to foe this season, however, as Miami could give Baltimore fits if they meet in the postseason.