Campen next to leave Packers

Veteran offensive line coach bolts to Browns

Mike Clemens
January 14, 2019 - 8:40 am

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Green Bay, WI - No one bled more Green & Gold blood than James Campen. 

Campen played center for five seasons for the Packers, from 1989 to 1993, after a two year stint with the Saints.  He was Brett Favre's first center in Green Bay. 

The Tulane graduate returned to the Packers as an assistant offensive line coach hired by then head coach Mike Sherman. 

Campen then adjusted and learned how to teach the Denver zone blocking scheme, featuring cut blocks, when Mike McCarthy and new offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski took over in Green Bay in 2006.

The following season when Joe Philbin was promoted from line coach to offensive coordinator, Campen was named the Packers offensive line coach, a role he would master the next 12 seasons, the most tenured assistant coach currently for the team, and a long run by any NFL standard.

Last week Philbin interviewed with Mike Zimmer for the Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach position and it seemed to signal the Packers offensive staff was on it's way out the door. Wide receivers coach David Raih was fired by new head coach Matt LaFleur. 

This past weekend Campen headed to Cleveland and sat down with the Browns new head coach Freddie Kitchens, and left with a new job, and nice pay raise. After a combined 20 years with the Green Bay Packers, Campen is now the new associate head coach and offensive line coach of the Browns. The story was first reported by ESPN's Rob Demovsky.

Campen's departure will not play well with veterans he's developed like right tackle Bryan Bulaga, center Corey Linsley, or left tackle David Bakhtiari.

"Campy is simply the best offensive line coach in the National Football League. In my opinion," Bakhtiari told 105.7 FM The FAN's BIG SHOW earlier this month. "When you think of how he has been able to teach and prepare our back-up guys for active duty its incredible how versatile our guys have been in emergencies."

Campen also has a close ally in quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The two will often sit together on team flights, dine, and hang out on the road. Campen drilled into every one of his offensive line players the importance of keeping alive Brett Favre's consecutive game streak, and keeping the scrambling Rodgers - alive. 

In August, 2016 during the Brett Favre Hall of Fame speech in Canton, Rodgers, wearing dark sunglasses, tried to slip past the 30,000 plus fans in attendance to take a seat near the front row, flanked by two of his closest colleagues with the Packers - place kicker Mason Crosby, and Campen. 

The winds of change are blowing through Green Bay and after hundreds of games, and one Super Bowl ring, James Campen now moves on to the Cleveland Browns, with the support of their GM John Dorsey, who served in the Packers personnel department for over 20 years, and was actually a teammate of Campen's (at linebacker) when they played for the Packers in 1989. Campen moves to the most secure spot he can find in the NFL right now, given Mike McCarthy could not land the job in Cleveland, or with the New York Jets, and will sit out the 2019 season.  

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