"He's done everything we expected." Phillips said after the Chiefs game. "He blocked extremely well today. Tim Wilson had some good runs because of Earl's blocking. Earl carried the ball well, played well in the clutch and his endurance was excellent. He took a lot of tough licks, but there were a few of them he hit who got up slow, too." On one play, Campbell collided with Chief Linebacker Thomas Howard, and for a moment it seemed he would be taking his first trip on an NFL stretcher. But Campbell left the field under his own power, and two plays later he was back in the lineup.
"When you get someone with Campbell's kind of ability and attitude, you've really got something," Phillips says. "You don't get a chance to get very many kids like him, and if you can get one, he can be the difference over the next five years. He can put this club over the hump."
Sure, Bum, but isn't there something the kid does that bothers you? Does he take up two spaces when he parks his car? Does he snore? Well, if Phillips hasn't found any fault in his rookie, one Houston official has. "I don't think Earl liked that singing bit at training camp very much," the man says, referring to that ritual in which the rookies have to get up and sing their school song. "Earl somehow found a back door out of the dining hall, and he was usually the first in line to eat and the first to leave." One day the veterans caught Campbell as he tried to sneak out the door, and he serenaded them with a song about Mamas, babies and cowboys.
So Campbell doesn't like The Eyes of Texas. Big deal. As Offensive Back Coach Andy Bourgeois says, he's still "a real pleasure to be with. You know what he reminds me of? A Sunday morning. Just an easy Sunday morning."
Campbell may give Houston some easy Sunday afternoons, too.