Campbell stayed on his usual classy course, although he did admit he's stunned by what's happened. Campbell is the NFL’s current poster boy for how brutal and unforgiving the league can be as a business.
Campbell, 29, was enjoying success in his second season as the Raiders’ quarterback. The free-agent-to-be was likely on his way to earning a contract extension. Then he broke his collarbone last Sunday, and everything changed.
In an attempt to save the season, the Raiders committed to Carson Palmer for the long term by giving up a first-round pick in 2012 and a second-round pick in 2013 that could become a first-round pick. Palmer, who’ll be 32 in December, is under contract with Oakland through the 2014 season. Assuming Palmer doesn’t suffer a major injury, there won’t be a starting job in Oakland for Campbell when he heals.
Campbell was recuperating from his Monday surgery when he watched the Raiders’ news conference announcing the Palmer trade Tuesday afternoon. Before the trade, Campbell had hoped he could return in as soon as six weeks, although that appeared to be a very optimistic view.
“I was halfway still on pain medicine,” Campbell said of learning of the trade. “It was kind of a moment of silence. My fiancée looked at me to see if I was going to say something. There's different things that go through your mind but you don't want to fill your mind with those thoughts.”
Campbell said he will continue to stay positive.
"As a player in this league, you can't worry about the things that go on from a business side of it, the political side of it," Campbell said. "You know what you're worth, you know what you've done to help the franchise you've got here, and put us in the position we're in now."
Campbell said he discussed the situation with Oakland coach Hue Jackson on Friday. He said Jackson gave him reassurance.
"He was like, 'I still believe in you,'” Campbell said of his chat with his coach. “We brought you here, and you've done everything we've asked you to do, you know, helped turn the franchise around. You're winning, you're playing good.'
"And he was like, 'Don't get frustrated and get caught up into the things that are being said as far as a political standpoint and what you're hearing from a day-to-day basis. Just focus on getting back healthy and move forward.'"
That’s great, but with Palmer now in Oakland, the only thing Campbell can realistically do is plan for his post-Oakland future.