Khary Campbell Had a Baby (Before Kickoff!)
When Khary Campbell realized his first child's due date would fall sometime between back-to-back trips to Dallas and Philadelphia, the Redskins linebacker and special teams standout came up with a plan. The original due date--Oct. 3--would be moved up a few days, to the relatively softer early part of the week. His mother and other family members would arrive before he went to Dallas, just in case anything went awry. As soon as he returned from the game, they would head to the hospital, and his wife would be induced Monday morning.
"He wanted to be here for the game," Campbell joked about his son Shia, who was born shortly before kickoff yesterday.
Before Campbell went to sleep Saturday night, his wife told him she was having contractions, which were growing more frequent. In the middle of the night, he got a call that said they were headed to the hospital. During the team breakfast, he learned she had an epidural. As he got ready to board the team bus, he found out doctors were getting ready to induce.
Campbell kept teammates and coaches advised throughout the process, and he wandered around the hotel grounds talking family matters with Rock Cartwright Sunday morning. But he worried that if he tried to rush back to Northern Virginia he'd miss both the game and the birth, so instead he just remained glued to his phone.
"Everything was happening so fast," he said. ""You want to be there of course, so we try to do those things to be able to have a schedule. But he was on his own schedule, so all the planning was out the window."
And so by the time Campbell got to Texas Stadium, his wife was no longer answering her phone. He tried to go through his normal pre-game routine without knowing what was going on back home, and when he returned to the locker room about 30 minutes before kickoff, he had a text message from his mother. "Your son is here," he read. Shia weighed 7 pounds 14 ounces, everyone was healthy, and yes, they all planned to watch every snap of the Redskins' 26-24 victory.
"It was hard to really be rah-rah and focus like I normally would until I found out," he said from Reston Hospital Center today. "Then it was like, 'All right, put that in perspective and let's go out there and get this victory.' "
Campbell talked to teammates in the locker room who had lived through similar situations: Cornelius Griffin, who learned of a birth during halftime last year, and London Fletcher, whose wife gave birth to their second child, son Cortland, during training camp this summer. He stopped himself from thinking about what was happening in the hospital until Jason Campbell was kneeling down to complete the win, at which point he went straight to the locker room to talk to his wife.
After the team flight landed, he drove directly to the hospital, arriving shortly after 1 a.m. and "smiling from ear to ear for a long time," he told me. He hardly slept Saturday night or Sunday night, and figures he won't get much sleep for a while. And as for Wednesday's scheduled practice?
"I'm back with everybody else," he said. "It's football season. We've got to win games. I'll be back to full practice, full concentration come Wednesday. Might not have as much sleep as I usually get, but I'll be there, definitely happy about being a father."
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