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Catching up with Bruce Campbell at the NFL combine

Former Maryland offensive linemen Bruce Campbell was a day late meeting with reporters at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis because a surgery he underwent in high school stoked the curiosity of doctors during medical testing on Thursday.

Campbell met with reporters on Friday afternoon and said he’s physically okay, and that the delay happened because the combine doctors weren’t aware of the old surgery and weren’t especially familiar with the procedure.

Campbell said the surgery was to address Arnold-Chiari malformation, an apparent brain abnormality. He didn’t have many more details to offer.

“To tell you the truth, I really don’t know,” he said. “After listening to all the doctors talk yesterday, I really don’t know. I really don’t know how to explain it anymore.”

The surgery was at the base of his skull. He said it wasn’t related to a sports injury and was a procedure that he needed to get done eventually. He didn't think it would affect his draft status.

Campbell is an intriguing tackle in a draft that features many of them. He could hear his name called in the middle of the first round or could possibly fall into the early part of the second round.

Here’s some highlights from his media availability today:

Q: Why leave school now?
A: Really I just feel like it’s the right time for me. I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot at the University of Maryland. I know I didn’t get any honors, as in all-conference, all-American or anything, but I feel my self-accomplishments were better than winning a medal or anything else. And pretty much left, [with people] saying I’m all
about the money, but I feel like it’s the right time for me to come out. I can also help my family.

Q: How did you benefit by going to Hargrave [Military Academy]?
A: That year at Hargrave, I grew up a lot. I realized how much of a
leader I could be, and I realized that it was a lot more to life than just what I was brought up around in New Haven, Connecticut.

Q: Why did you choose a different sport than your father [a star basketball player at Providence in the 1970s]?
A: Because I want to be my own individual person. I am Bruce Keith
Campbell II; I am not Bruce Keith Campbell. So I just want to be my own person. I am my own man, so I chose a complete opposite route of my father.

Q: Where do you want to go?
A: Wherever I go, I’m going to go there and compete for a position,
I’m gonna go there and do what I have to do. I’m going to play football no matter where I have to go. I really don’t mind wherever I go, Cowboys, Rams, Redskins. It really doesn’t matter to me. I’m here to play football.

Q: Have you talked to [former Maryland teammate] Jared Gaither?
A: Yes, he’s actually training at the same facility I am down in Miami, so we do communicate a lot. I talked to him – I wanted to see how it was and everything else. I was like, ‘What should I expect?’ He was just telling me: ‘Man, go be yourself. You’re going to have a good time. You’re going to enjoy yourself. Just go there and do what you‘ve got to do.’

Q: Reach out to [former teammates] Edwin Williams, Stephon Heyer?
A: Oh yes. I talk to Edwin a lot. Stephon and I talk every once in a
while. Basically they all told me pretty much the same thing: There’s going to be a lot of pulling and tugging on you for the medicals. It’s like everybody is going to want to get to know you, everyone’s going to see how you react to certain things. Just go there, be yourself. Just be who you are and everything’s going to fall in place for you. I feel good. I feel great. I’m here, I’m enjoying the time that I’m here for. I’m not letting the process overwhelm me.

Q: When people say you're raw, what do you think about that?
A: Really, I don't see it as anything. Everybody in here, we're all
starting basically from freshman. We're all rookies again. So I mean, one person might not be able to tell how raw another person is, but when they get up here, this person is just like that person on the NFL level. I don't see it as anything. They can say what they want to say. They can be raw, but at the same time, we're all starting from the same position. Everyone has a chance to improve themselves.

Q: Do you feel you have room for improvement when it comes to technique?
A: I do. I really do. I feel everyone has room for improvement. But I
feel like I have a little more. My first year, I'm really going to work on it because I really want to get in and play. I'm not the type of person who comes to the NFL and is satisfied with just being here. I actually want to do something in the NFL.

Q: Why do you feel like to have more room to improve? Is it because
you only had 17 starts in college?
A: Not really. It's because I depend on my athletic ability a little
more. And at the same time, you see some defenses in college that maybe weren't the best defenses I've seen, so I feel like I didn't have to use technique. I could get around it by being athletic. I try to depend on that a little bit.

Q: What are your official measurements?
A: I was 6-6 and a half. I had 10 1/2-inch hands and weight 314 pounds. I had 36 1/2 inch arms.

Q: Why Maryland when you grew up in New Haven? What led you there?
A: Maryland was the first school that started looking at me. They got
real good coaches. Coach Friedgen is a coach who would tell me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear. 'You need to do this, or you're not going to be a Terp.' Most of the other coaches were just telling me what I wanted to hear to get to there school. So that contributed to the decision and they just became my final choice.

Q: Your father played pro basketball. But it sounded like you came
from a tough neighborhood. You didn't exactly live the lifestyle of a former NBA player's kid, did you?
A: I didn't. I don't know what he did with himself, but I didn't live
that lifestyle of the rich and famous. I wasn't living in a big house or any of that stuff. I grew up right there in the heart of New Haven, in pretty much the ghetto and it was rough. It was real rough.

Q: How did you stay on the straight and narrow?
A: My mother. She was real tough on me when I was a youngster. I
didn't see it at first, but when I started to grow up and experience stuff on my own like around 14 or 15, I already knew right from wrong. It was just a given. Two of my nephews were born, and I was like being their role model. They started tagging along and I had little ones with me and I was like, 'Man, I just got to do the right thing and give
them the chance to do the right thing.' I've got a chance to have a bright future. So I'm just going to continue to keep going on the path I've been going.

Q: How bad is New Haven now?
A: Bad enough that I don't take visits for very long. If I go, it's probably no longer than a week and a half. There is just too much going on. Too much shooting, killing, stabbing, robberies. I don't want to be in that type of neighborhood and I don't want to be in that type of environment.

By Rick Maese  |  February 26, 2010; 4:24 PM ET
Categories:  Football  
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Next: Terps looking for Milbourne to bounce back


Hoping Bruce Campbell you may read this post. I too have chiari and live in CT. I started a support group here in our state to help the many people that suffer for this. We also had our first Conquer Chiari Walk Across America last year and raised money for muched needed reserch. We are really trying to get the word out and spread awareness. I know you are a busy man but if there is anyway in the future you may help in this much needed cause would love your support. Especially for the many kids that suffer with this. And the more research done leads to this being passed on to our kids. Good luck to you in your carrier and hope you may to help in some way. Can be reached at:

Posted by: lisamvassallo | February 27, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Bruce, even though Chiari is hidden on the inside, it doesn't have to effect your life on the outside. If you feel that you can play - PLAY!! Live life to the fullest :)

Providing help for those with Chiari.

Volunteers & Sponsors needed
Paula from MD

Posted by: classee4u | February 27, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

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