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Earl Campbell says he has nothing to complain about

Earl Campbell, Bum Phillips AP

Hall of Fame running back Earl Campbell is often mentioned as one of the primary examples of how the game of football can take such a physical toll on the men who play it that the sport simply isn’t worth the risks. Campbell, however, does not see it that way.

Campbell is on the cover of the current Sports Illustrated, and the “Where Are They Know?” profile of him reveals that Campbell actually thinks he’s doing just fine at the age of 57. Campbell has had back and knee problems, arthritis and diabetes, and has struggled with addictions to alcohol and painkillers, but he says that when someone recently commended him for never complaining, his answer was, “What would I complain about?”

When a story made the rounds five years ago that Campbell took six minutes to walk 40 yards, many of his fans began to pity him. Campbell says he’s doing better now, and he never wanted any pity. He also never regretted the physical way he played football, saying he wants to be remembered as a man who would fight for every yard, and he doesn’t have anything against the game of football.

“I don’t hold nothing against nobody,” Campbell said. “I played the way I wanted to play and ran the way I wanted to run. When you want to be the best at something, nobody is going to tell you how to do it. When it was third-and-four, I didn’t just want five yards. I wanted seven.”

Fighting for all those yards for all those years may have taken something out of Earl Campbell. But he doesn’t see it that way.

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18 Responses to “Earl Campbell says he has nothing to complain about”
  1. ravenspit says: Jul 16, 2012 7:26 PM

    Earl is the man. Tough as nails, honest as the day is long.

  2. FinFan68 says: Jul 16, 2012 7:27 PM

    This man is an all-time great and he completely understands the risks he took. He should be commended for his integrity but many will condemn him for his unwillingness to blame (and ultimately sue) the NFL for anything/everything wrong with him.

  3. drkknght2000 says: Jul 16, 2012 7:29 PM

    That’s a man right there. Some of these atheletes today should take note. No excuses, no finger pointing. He can look in thThese guys need to be taken care of, but he isn’t whining about it.e mirror for his answers.

  4. monosylab1k says: Jul 16, 2012 7:36 PM

    Nice to hear an honest perspective from someone who has a right to complain per today’s money-grubbing world. Reason #476 why Earl Campbell is The Man…

  5. blackandbluedivision says: Jul 16, 2012 7:51 PM

    He may not but Dez Bryant does.

  6. skinsfantom says: Jul 16, 2012 9:07 PM

    man was he fun to watch. he was one of those guys that if his game was on you would watch it no matter who you liked. him and payton

  7. dcbrave says: Jul 16, 2012 10:12 PM

    Salute to Earl Campbell. A Titan before that was the name of the franchise.

  8. pmars64 says: Jul 16, 2012 10:36 PM

    The single most talented football player I’ve ever witnessed since I started following football in the mid-70s. Luv Ya Blue!

  9. sjoyner59 says: Jul 17, 2012 12:16 AM

    I loved watching Earl Campbell play the game,he was great, I can picture the way he played and it was a pleasure to watch….

  10. justwaittilnextyear says: Jul 17, 2012 12:35 AM

    I have an Earl Campbell jersey that he sent me because he asked what was his football idol was…Dick Butkis of course. I have watched football since 1968 and i have never seen a tougher son of a gun than Earl and now he is the poster boy for men of the NFL ,men that knew the risk and got paid accordingly god bless Earl Campbell,

  11. washingtonseabee says: Jul 17, 2012 1:16 AM

    Thinking back to my youth, great memories of Earl punishing the defense on MNF and any given Sunday for that matter. Good article on him and his son in recent issue of SI.

  12. irishnativeson says: Jul 17, 2012 1:46 AM

    I won’t presume to speak for anyone, especially such an awesome athlete as The Tyler Rose. He was a once in a generation physical specimen and I’ll admit it was painful to the point of bringing tears to my eyes seeing him limp around and that was a few years ago. Offer a man such as he your admiration as opposed to your pity. He surely deserves no less

  13. paychrisjohnson28 says: Jul 17, 2012 2:57 AM

    #34 Earl Campbell was my first hero in football, I was 8 years old and my friends were all watching Monday night football, so I decided to as well on November 22nd , 1978, I watched Earl Campbell run for 199 yards and four touchdowns including one run of 80 yards for a touchdown for the Houston Oilers as they defeated the Miami Dolphins that night and Luv Ya Blue fans was going crazy, I was hooked, as it was the first NFL game I ever saw! I have followed the Houston Oilers and now Tennessee Titans ever since! The Tyler Rose…Earl Campbell the pride of Tyler, Texas ! Thank you for sacrificing your body for the game Earl, you were an amazingly powerful running back and deserve the Hall of Fame both in pro and college football that you have been inducted in! Anyone reading this who is young, go to YouTube and watch Earl Campbell highlights! Now that is a man running the ball !

  14. larryjames836 says: Jul 17, 2012 3:21 AM

    There was bountys program back in Earl Campbell days but this were football back then no crying and the NFL were not caring about players safety. They were being carried off and carted off many players concussions is from back then still haven’t gotten paid the NFL didn’t care and don’t care now so what’re the big deal now.

  15. joetoronto says: Jul 17, 2012 5:07 AM

    Players like Earl Campbell and Lester Hayes are who we thought they were, who we admired.

    So many of these “tough guys” ended up being wimps.

  16. papichulo55 says: Jul 17, 2012 5:30 AM

    One of my all-time favorites. althogh he is very sure about the choices he made, as a fan I am still conflicted. I can still shoot some baskets with the kids. Its sad that he cant.
    I wonder if his family has no regrets.

  17. exibitsman says: Jul 17, 2012 6:22 AM

    There has never been a more powerfull runningback like Earl Campbell. these runningbacks today can’t come close to what Earl used to do on the field.!!!!!!!

  18. johntonioholmes says: Jul 17, 2012 3:11 PM

    Definitely one of my all time favorite running backs.

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