Jaguars defensive lineman Calais Campbell: 'You can't be a leader if they don't respect you'

Jaguars defensive lineman Calais Campbell talks about joining his new team

The Jaguars lost several veterans on defense this offseason.

From Sen'Derrick Marks to Roy Miller to Davon House, the team's veteran leadership was purged under the new regime fronted by head coach Doug Marrone and football executive Tom Coughlin.

The team is now hoping to recoup some leadership with the arrival of defensive lineman Calais Campbell.

Now in his 10th NFL season, Campbell is entering a new situation. Before signing with the Jaguars in free agency, Campbell had only played for the Arizona Cardinals.

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Still, his career elsewhere has earned him respect throughout the league.

For a young Jaguars locker room, Campbell has the appeal of a quality import.

"I’m very happy about my decision," Campbell said in reference to signing with the Jaguars.

"Just the atmosphere, the coaching staff, everybody, you just feel the intensity in the room. You just look around and see all of the guys faces and everybody is really taking it in and are very engaged. That means a lot because that’s where it starts. Just buying into the program and just buying into what the coaches are preaching. Just making it work."

Campbell has been to a Super Bowl. He has won a conference championship. He has been a Pro Bowl selection and he knows what it's like to be called an All-Pro.

He is considered a proven leader and the Jaguars are hoping his work ethic rubs off on others.

"I think it comes down it to, it’s just coming in and earning the respect of your peers," Campbell said.

"You can’t be a leader if they don’t respect you. I’m not going to come in and just tell people what to do. That’s not my style. I’m going to come here, put the work in and lead by example and when I feel like I need to speak and say something I will, but right now we’re just working out and competing and having fun out there."

Campbell already has a plan when it comes to building relationships with teammates. Believe it or not, it's a pretty simple approach.

"You have to build that comradery and that’s definitely outside of the building," Campbell said.

"Just spending time together, getting to know each other, eating together - that makes a huge difference. It’s going to take time obviously, but over these next eight weeks, there’s a lot to get done. I feel like we’re on a fast start."

Campbell hasn't lost sight of the fact that he is still new. He wants to establish himself, but he is also still learning more about his new surroundings.

"I think a new start definitely keeps you on their toes," Campbell said.

"This is probably the most I’ve been - as far as just being alert in the offseason program - trying to make sure I’m paying attention as much as I can, soak up as much as I can really. These voluntary workouts can sometimes be repetitive for a while, so for me, I’m brand new so I’m going to try to take in as much as possible."

Campbell knows that his leadership skills are almost as important as his actual playing ability. However, the team has had some strong leaders in the past and failed to make a mark.

The reality of that situation isn't lost on Campbell.

"When it comes down to game day, whatever coach calls, it’s our job to make him look good," Campbell said.

"It starts with just understanding the philosophy and the mentality of what we’re trying to do and the coaching staff has really put together a really good energy that we can feed off of."

Campbell's goal as a leader will be to enforce those philosophies on his younger teammates. If everyone sees that Campbell has bought into the teachings of the coaching staff, they will be more likely to follow his lead.

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.

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