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Exclusive: De’Vondre Campbell talks joining ‘contender’ 49ers, filling in for Greenlaw, Nick Sorensen, more

Jun 26, 2024 at 10:43 AM

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The San Francisco 49ers made a keynote acquisition when they signed veteran linebacker De'Vondre Campbell earlier this offseason. A First-team All-Pro selection in 2021, Campbell will provide the 49ers with terrific depth and playmaking ability in the immediate wake of Dre Greenlaw's injury. Expect the nine-year pro to play a considerable role on defense this season.

Campbell recently spoke exclusively with 49ers Webzone while discussing his partnership with Campbell's and their new Chunky Spicy Nashville-Style Hot Chicken Soup. Campbell discussed choosing the 49ers in free agency, new defensive coordinator Nick Sorensen, and more.

JM: Campbell's recently launched the new Chunky Spicy Nashville-Style Hot Chicken Soup. It has 13 grams of protein and is seasoned with delicious spices to bring that authentic southern heat! I just had my first bowl before I hopped on the call with you and I'm impressed! It's quite spicy (laughs). What was your initial reaction to tasting the soup for the first time?

De'Vondre Campbell: It's funny because I'm not a big spicy food guy (laughs). It's definitely spicy, but it's also delicious. I like it a lot. I just got home from my workout and I'm eating a bowl as we speak.

I like to grab a quick bite after my workout. My lifestyle requires something convenient, and the new Nashville-Style Hot Chicken Soup has 13 grams of protein. I can just warm it up and throw it in a bowl after a workout. I burn a lot of calories throughout the day, so I don't like waiting long to eat after I get home (laughs).

It's awesome. Everybody should go check out the new flavor.

JM: The 13 grams of protein are a game changer. It makes the soup a legitimate option for a post-workout meal.

Campbell: Absolutely, that's a lot of protein. I always try to get at least one quality serving of protein with every meal after a workout. The soup is loaded with high-quality protein. The spice has some true southern heat and bold ingredients (laughs).

JM: You're on a new journey with Campbell's, and it's a new journey professionally, as well. What drew you to the San Francisco 49ers following your release from the Green Bay Packers?

Campbell: I've obviously had a lot of opportunities to play against the San Francisco 49ers in the past. I've honestly always been attracted to the style of football they play. I've actually played in a similar defensive scheme when I was playing with the Atlanta Falcons. There's already a sense of familiarity present as far as the system goes.

I love the way this defense intends to play football. They hunt, they have a bunch of dogs. The honest truth is they had a void that needed to be filled after losing a really great player to injury [Dre Greenlaw] in the Super Bowl.

I feel like I can come in and contribute. I don't need to do anything more than what's being asked of me.

JM: What do you anticipate your role being if Greenlaw misses time with his injury?

Campbell: That's really not up to me. My goal right now is to try to learn as much as I can about this defense so I can help them. Whatever is required of me, I'm going to be ready to impress the coaching staff. I want to get on the field because I know nothing is promised or guaranteed.

They called me and told me they wanted me [in free agency]. It was a really good opportunity for myself to join a contender. I'm just trying to make the most of it. I don't have any expectations really. I'm just trying to impress this coaching staff and let the chips fall where they may.

JM: You'll join Dre Greenlaw and Fred Warner when all parties are healthy. What do you feel the potential is for your position group? Those are three very talented players.

Campbell: We all know that Fred's [Warner] resume speaks for itself. I personally feel like Dre Greenlaw doesn't get the respect he deserves. He's one of the best linebackers in this league. I've always been a big fan of both of them.

They're both great players. We just need to focus on getting him [Greenlaw] healthy. I've been in constant contact with him. He's a dog, man. When you keep a dog in a kennel, it can get anxious. He wants to play football so bad. I told him this is God's plan for him right now. He just needs to get healthy and control what he can control.

Fred Warner and myself, Curtis [Robinson], Flynn [Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles], Zeke [Ezekiel Turner], Dee [Winters], all of us are going to hold the fort down until Greenlaw gets back to where he wants to be.

JM: Absolutely. The organization has a new defensive coordinator in former player Nick Sorensen. What was your first impression of the scheme?

Campbell: I have a lot of respect for Nick Sorensen. First and foremost, he's a former player like you said, so that mutual respect is present. We both understand how hard it is to play in this league. There's always mutual respect between players, past and present.

To be honest with you, I didn't know much about him as a coach until I got here. I knew who he was as a player because I'm weird like that, I'm a football junkie, I know every player (laughs). Being around coach Sorensen for the past six-to-eight weeks, I've grown to know him a lot better.

He's a super cool guy and coach. I think I'm going to fit in really well here. I love the way he calls the defense. With him being a former player, he has a certain knowledge of how to go about things on that side of the ball. Things are going very well so far. I'm excited to see what's in store.

JM: Spending these six-to-eight weeks at OTAs and minicamp, what were your initial takeaways from the chemistry within your new locker room? What makes this organization unique?

Campbell: They don't care about anything other than winning. That was my first impression. That's what I saw during the six-to-eight weeks I was here. The owners, the GM in John Lynch, being around Kyle Shanahan, our entire staff, all they ever talk about is getting back to the big dance [Super Bowl].

That's what it's all about. That's what we're in the business of, this is a performance, results-based business. They don't care about anything other than winning. Everybody here is super competitive. Everything they do is about creating competition. You have to be the best version of yourself every single day.

They know how to go about creating competition. They're smart about it as well. It matters. You can easily see it. It didn't take long for me to see it.

JM: The organization has been incredibly close to winning a Super Bowl in recent years, but has fallen just short. Do you feel like your experience can put them over the top?

Campbell: Like I said earlier, I just want to bring my nine years of experience to the table. I want to contribute however I can to help the team. I've been fortunate enough to play in a Super Bowl, even though we lost. I do have the experience of playing in a Super Bowl.

As much knowledge as I bring to the table, I'm going to pass that onto my teammates. That's what I want to do. I'm not going to sit here and say I'm the missing piece because we already have a great team and we've had a ton of success.

The organization has been to two Super Bowls and four NFC Championship Games since 2019. They already have a pretty good formula for success. I just want to come in and contribute any way that I can.

JM: That's exactly what you're going to do. You said you're a football junkie earlier. I'm sure you've seen the schedule. You'll play at Green Bay on November 24. Are you circling that game as a potential revenge game opportunity?

Campbell: No, it really isn't. I never make any game bigger than the next one. We'll cross that bridge when we get there. We'll just take it one game at a time until then. Whenever we get to that point, we get to that point.

JM: We've appreciated your time today. This has been outstanding. Thanks for joining us on behalf of Campbell's and their new Chunky Spicy Nashville-Style Hot Chicken Soup. What are your goals with training camp less than one month away?

Campbell: I'm excited. It feels like I literally walked in the door not too long ago and we're already getting ready for training camp (laughs). I'm training hard. I'm making sure I'm not skipping any steps.

I'm prepared for the goals that I've set for myself, though I'm going to keep them [goals] private. I don't like putting that stuff out there because I believe in bad energy. I'm prepared to meet those goals. If I do that, it will help get the San Francisco 49ers get where we want to get as a team.

I'm excited to see where the season goes.
  • Written by:
    Justin Melo is a contributor for @TheDraftNetwork and covers the Tennessee Titans for @BroadwayTN and @TitansMCM. You can listen to him on The Music City Audible podcast (@MCABroadway).

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