By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Senior linebacker Jack Campbell apparently hasn’t played his last game for the Iowa football team.
An emotional Campbell said to the media after Friday’s 24-17 loss to Nebraska on Senior Day at Kinnick Stadium that he currently has no plans to opt out of whatever bowl game Iowa gets sent to.
He might ultimately change his mind, and if so, you couldn’t blame Campbell for playing it safe with everything he has within his reach as a future NFL player.
Jack Campbell has given his heart, soul and body to the Iowa football program, and it was tough watching him try to answer questions from the media after Friday’s loss, which most likely will keep Iowa from winning the Big Ten West Division for the second year in a row.
Campbell struggled just to speak as his voice cracked with emotion.
“The opportunity to throw the tigerhawk on the side of your head and put that jersey on, that is something that every kid should try to seize,” Campbell said. “Right now, my main focus is pushing forward. We have another game, and we’re all looking forward to that.
“It will be a reflection, but right now we are going to push forward and keep our heads up.”
Campbell has been the ultimate warrior and teammate, so it isn’t surprsing that the Cedar Rapids still plans to play in a bowl game because Iowa football means so much to him.
He takes tremendous pride in wearing the Iowa jersey, and he considers it a privilege to be an Iowa football player.
But again, it would make sense should Campbell ultimately decide to opt out of the bowl game. But it also would make sense should Campbell choose to play in a bowl game because he always has put the team before his own individual pursuits.
What you hope for more than anything is that Campbell makes the best decision for him and does so without any pressure, and with a clear mind.
There isn’t anything left for the 6-foot-5, 246-pound Campbell to prove on the field as a Hawkeye.
He already is one of the best linebackers in program history, and one of the best collegiate linebackers in the country.
But there also wasn’t anything left for former Iowa All-America center Tyler Linderbaum to prove when he decided to play in the Citrus Bowl last season despire being considered a likely first-round pick in the 2022 NFL draft.
Linderbaum suffered a foot injury in the 20-17 loss to Kentucky in the Citrus Bowl, but he still would go on to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft by the Baltimore Ravens, and he now starts at center for the Ravens.
Some would say that Linderbaum dodged a bullet, but Linderbaum knew the risk when he decided to play in the Citrus Bowl.
Some things are just worth risking, and for Jack Campbell, the chance to play in one more game as an Iowa football player is worth the risk.
Iowa LB Jack Campbell gets emotional talking to media after walking of Duke Slater Field for the last time: pic.twitter.com/KYSvr2iGbm
— Dallas Jones (@DallasJonesy) November 26, 2022